UAE’s RAKIA to appeal case brought by Farhad Azima over alleged hack

The Ras Al-Khaimah Investment Authority has denied claims it hacked the emails of Farhad Azima. (Shutterstock)
Updated 03 June 2018
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UAE’s RAKIA to appeal case brought by Farhad Azima over alleged hack

  • Investment Authority to challenge US decision to hear hacking claims
  • RAKIA says allegations from Farhad Azima are "complete fiction."

LONDON: A UAE investment agency plans to appeal a US court decision to hear computer hacking claims brought against it by Iranian-American businessman Farhad Azima.
The Ras Al-Khaimah Investment Authority (RAKIA), the investment arm of the emirate in the north of the country, told Arab News it would appeal a lawsuit brought by Azima in the Washington federal court, which accused the UAE fund of hacking his computer and posting the files on the Internet.
“Mr. Azima falsely claimed, in an obvious distraction tactic (from UK proceedings against him), that RAKIA or its agents hacked his computers and put his information on the Internet,” RAKIA said in a statement to Arab News.
It is the latest development in a web of lawsuits that have arisen from the efforts by the investment agency to recoup billions of dollars it claims were misappropriated in several deals involving former RAKIA CEO Khater Massaad and his associates.
“The Government of Ras Al-Khaimah believes that the decision by a US district court to assume jurisdiction over the frivolous lawsuit brought by Farhad Azima against the Ras Al-Khaimah Investment Authority is erroneous, and (it) has appealed the decision,” RAKIA said.
The US case follows an action brought by RAKIA in London against Azima that alleges he secured secret payments during the planned sale of a Sheraton hotel in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi.
RAKIA had tried to get the claim thrown out of court in the US earlier this year, but its motion to dismiss was rejected by US District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on March 30.
Now it plans to appeal the decision.
“Mr. Azima’s claim in the US case that the Ras Al-Khaimah Investment Authority or its agents hacked his computers and put his information on the Internet is a complete fiction,” RAKIA said in its statement.
“To the extent that the US courts continue to exercise jurisdiction over Mr. Azima’s claims, the Ras Al-Khaimah Investment Authority looks forward to clearing its name there.”
The case brought by RAKIA in London against Azima relates to two deals — including the aborted sale of the Sheraton Metechi Palace Hotel in Tbilisi from the agency’s Georgian unit to a company owned by Houshang Hosseinpour, another Iranian businessman.
RAKIA alleges that Azima took what it describes as a “secret commission” on the planned sale.
The UAE investment agency also claims that Azima paid the then CEO of RAKIA Georgia, Khater Massaad, a fee of $500,000 to help steer the deal through.
But Azima in turn alleges that a lawyer acting on behalf of RAKIA had warned that the businessman risked becoming “collateral damage” if he did not assist the agency in its pursuit of Massaad.
Farhad Azima was not immediately available for comment.


Iran anti-money laundering law faces challenge as deadline looms

Updated 18 August 2018
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Iran anti-money laundering law faces challenge as deadline looms

  • Iran has been trying to implement standards set by the Financial Action Task Force
  • Foreign businesses say legislation that includes FATF guidelines is essential if they are to increase investment

DUBAI: A top Iranian constitutional body has demanded changes to anti-money laundering measures passed by parliament, state-run media said on Saturday, as Tehran nears a deadline to pass legislation to help it attract investment while facing USsanctions.
Iran has been trying to implement standards set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an inter-governmental organization which underpins regimes combatting money laundering and terrorist financing. It hopes it will be removed from a blacklist that makes some foreign investors reluctant to deal with it.
In June, FATF said Iran had until October to complete the reforms or face consequences that could further deter investors from the country, which has already been hit by the return of US sanctions. {nL5N1UY39D]
Hard-liners in parliament have opposed legislation aimed at moving toward compliance with FATF standards, arguing it could hamper Iranian financial support for allies such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which the United States has classified as a terrorist organization.
The Guardian Council, which vets legislation passed by parliament for compliance with the constitution, objected to four items in the anti-money laundering amendments and returned the measure to parliament, spokesman Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei was quoted by the judiciary’s news agency Mizan as saying.
Kadkhodaei did not give details of the four items, according to Mizan.
Earlier this month, the Guardian Council approved legal amendments on combating the funding of terrorism.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in June parliament should pass legislation to combat money laundering according to its own criteria.
Foreign businesses say legislation that includes FATF guidelines is essential if they are to increase investment.