Abraaj founder settles $300m bounced check case

Arif Naqvi, the founder and chief executive of the embattled Abraaj Group, has avoided a three-year prison sentence in the UAE with a last-minute deal. (File photos / Reuters)
Updated 28 August 2018
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Abraaj founder settles $300m bounced check case

DUBAI: Arif Naqvi, the founder and chief executive of the embattled Abraaj Group, has avoided a three-year prison sentence in the UAE with a last-minute deal struck with Hamid Jafar, the Sharjah based businessman, over $300 million of checks written by Naqvi and a lieutenant that were dishonored on presentation.
Lawyers for Naqvi, below, and Jafar issued statements yesterday that halted proceedings over the bounced checks — a criminal offense in the UAE — after talks in London agreed the transfer of certain assets from Naqvi to Jafar as part-payment of the debts, and an agreement to potentially pay more on the disposal of Abraaj assets.
Habib Al-Mulla, Naqvi’s lawyer and executive chairman of the law firm Baker & McKenzie Habib Al Mulla, said: “I am pleased to inform you that the parties have reached a full settlement on all disputes with Jafar. Under UAE criminal law, charges based on bounced checks get extinguished once parties reach a settlement. Accordingly, the parties will apply to the court and the public prosecution to withdraw the cases brought on the bounced checks.
“This is a good outcome for both parties to what in essence is a commercial dispute. We are pleased that the parties have settled their issues in a professional and business-oriented manner,” he added.
Zafer Ogli, partner of Al Tamimi & Co. and lawyer to Jafar, said: “The parties have agreed terms for the resolution of the current proceedings before the Sharjah criminal court relating to dishonored checks issued by Arif Naqvi and another individual. As a result, all criminal proceedings relating to this case have been discontinued.” Neither side gave details of the assets transferred to Jafar, but a source close to Naqvi — speaking on condition of anonymity — told Arab News that they mainly comprised real estate assets. Naqvi has significant property investments in London, the English Home Counties, and France, as well as in the UAE.
Naqvi has also agreed to make up the difference in any shortfall in value that might come Jafar’s way as a result of the ongoing sale of Abraaj assets, the source added. The Sharjah court, which last Sunday adjourned the case while talks continued to search for a resolution, had indicated it would impose a three year prison sentence on Naqvi and his co-signatory Rafiq Lakhani, an Abraaj executive.
Three checks to the value of about $300 million were given to Jafar as postdated payment for a loan to ease a funding problem at Abraaj. Once the leading private equity firm in emerging markets, Abraaj got into trouble when details surfaced of $200 million of funds that had been used for purposes other than what investors had intended.
Abraaj, which is in debt to the tune of more than $1 billion, is facing winding-up proceedings under the supervision of liquidators in the Cayman Islands, where its holding company is based.


Saudi Arabia’s PIF signs MoU with China’s NAE on renewable energy

Updated 10 min 18 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia’s PIF signs MoU with China’s NAE on renewable energy

  • The MoU comes as part of the strengthening of cooperation between the two entities in the field of renewable energy
  • The MoU will contribute to enabling the PIF to support and develop manufacturing, power generation and emerging technologies

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) announced on Friday that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with China’s National Energy Administration (NAE) on renewable energy cooperation.

The MoU comes as part of the strengthening of cooperation between the two entities in the field of renewable energy and strengthening Saudi Arabia’s position as a leading center for the development of renewable energy projects.

The MoU will contribute to enabling the PIF to support and develop manufacturing, power generation and emerging technologies in the Kingdom’s renewable energy sector over the next 10 years.

This agreement reinforces PIF’s efforts to build strategic partnerships aimed at developing local infrastructure and create more jobs, encouraging private sector institutions to engage in investment and commercial partnerships in the renewable energy sector.