‘Evidence of fraud’ at troubled UAE-based hospitals group NMC

NMC Health has identified it has an additional $2.7 billion of debt. (Reuters)
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Updated 13 March 2020

‘Evidence of fraud’ at troubled UAE-based hospitals group NMC

  • Advisers to the group said that they had uncovered signs of “suspected fraudulent behavior” at the company

DUBAI: Fraud has been alleged for the first time at NMC Health, the troubled UAE-based hospitals group.

In a statement to the London Stock Exchange, where NMC shares are listed, advisers to the group said that they had uncovered signs of “suspected fraudulent behavior” at the company.

Although financial irregularities have been alleged at NMC since American activist investor Muddy Waters attacked it in a report last December, fraud — a criminal offense in the UAE and UK — had not so far been alleged. The company’s advisers — US investment bank Moelis & Co, accountants PWC and lawyers Allen & Overy — have referred their evidence to the authorities in the UAE and UK.

NMC affairs are being probed by a special review committee set up under former FBI boss Louis Freeh.

Its statement said: “The review advisers have informed the committee that they have uncovered evidence leading to suspected fraudulent behavior in relation to some elements of NMC’s previous financial activities . . . NMC is fully committed to investigating these activities and has notified the relevant authorities in the UK and UAE to determine what action they also consider to be appropriate.” 

NMC is the biggest health care provider in the UAE and has operations in 18 other countries, including Saudi Arabia where it runs hospitals in Jeddah and Al- khobar. Last year it signed a joint venture with Saudi authorities to develop medical facilities there.

“Whilst these various investigations are ongoing, NMC remains fully focused on the provision of its health care services in all communities in which it operates, and on its business performance, as well as safeguarding its operational liquidity to continue funding existing operations throughout its various subsidiaries,” the statement to the LSE added.

NMC was founded by Indian entrepreneur BR Shetty in the 1970s and was run by him and two Emirati businessmen — Khaleefa Butti Omair Al-Muhairi and Saeed Mohamed Butti Mohamed Khalfan Al-Qebaisi — after it was floated on the LSE in 2012. Shetty resigned executive roles in 2017.


Oil prices rise as faith in supply cuts grows

Updated 26 May 2020

Oil prices rise as faith in supply cuts grows

  • Producers are following through on commitments to cut supplies as fuel demand picks up with coronavirus restrictions easing
  • OPEC+ countries are due to meet again in early June to discuss maintaining their supply cuts to shore up prices

NEW YORK: Oil prices rose on Tuesday, supported by growing confidence that producers are following through on commitments to cut supplies and as fuel demand picks up with coronavirus restrictions easing.
Brent crude futures were up 45 cents, or 1.3%, at $35.98 a barrel by 1:09 p.m. EDT (1709 GMT). US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures gained 89 cents, or 2.7%, to $34.14.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other leading oil producers including Russia, a group known as OPEC+, agreed last month to cut their combined output by almost 10 million barrels per day in May-June to shore up prices and demand, which has been hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak is due to meet oil major producers on Tuesday to discuss the possible extension of the current level of cuts beyond June, sources familiar with the plans told Reuters.
The RIA news agency said Russian oil production volumes were near the country’s target of 8.5 million bpd for May and June.
On Monday, Russia’s energy ministry quoted Novak as saying that a rise in fuel demand should help to cut a global surplus of about 7 million to 12 million bpd by June or July.
OPEC+ countries are due to meet again in early June to discuss maintaining their supply cuts to shore up prices, which are still down about 45% since the start of the year.
“The 16 million bpd oversupply in crude during April could be reversed altogether by June, helped by a 4 million-bpd recovery in crude demand and a 12 million-bpd cut in crude supply,” said Bjornar Tonhaugen, head of oil markets for Rystad Energy.
“OPEC+ is pulling the most weight by far, effectively reducing supply by nearly 9 million bpd while non-OPEC+ crude supply is down by more than 3.5 million bpd from March levels.”
In an indication of lower supply in the future, data from energy services business Baker Hughes showed that the US rig count hit a record low of 318 last week.