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.


Riyadh Future Investment Initiative summit on schedule for next week

Updated 15 October 2018
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Riyadh Future Investment Initiative summit on schedule for next week

  • Future Investment Initiative to go ahead despite ‘disappointing’ withdrawals.
  • It will be held in Riyadh from Oct. 23 to 25.

RIYADH: Officials and business leaders including US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde and JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon are set to attend an investment summit in Saudi Arabia next week.
The Future Investment Initiative (FII) is going ahead despite the “disappointing” withdrawal of some speakers and partners.
It will be held in Riyadh from Oct. 23 to 25.
“Despite the disappointing withdrawal of some speakers and partners, we look forward to welcoming thousands of speakers, session managers and guests from around the world,” an FII spokesman said in a statement quoted by Asharq Al-Awsat.
An earlier statement gave an overview of the event, saying that “investing in transformation,” “technology as opportunity” and “advancing human potential” are among the FII’s broad themes.
Mohammed Khunaizi, a Shoura Council member, said that government and business leaders will map out a “collective vision for future” at the event.
“The FII conference has emerged as the largest investment event of its kind in the Middle East, which offers opportunities for billions of dollars in business deals besides being an educative forum,” he said.
JPMorgan chief Dimon has been quoted in media reports as saying: “I am looking forward to attending the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh to discuss innovation in technology and what it means to all of us.”
Sami A. Al-Rajhi, a Saudi business executive, said: “The FII seeks to further explore how investment will drive growth opportunities regionally and globally.
“The event will help to bring many business opportunities to the country in particular and to the Middle East in general, which will support job creation, innovation and unlock economic opportunities.”