Abraaj bounced cheque case dismissed

The case relates to approximately $300 million in loans for Abraaj and its founder

Sharjah: A bounced cheque case against Arif Naqvi, the founder of Abraaj Capital, and his colleague Mohammad Rafique Lakhani has been dismissed.

Judge Nadheir Al Susi announced the verdict on Sunday morning.
Hamid Jafar’s lawyer attended the trail while Arif Masoud and Muhammad Rafique’s lawyers did not attend.

The case relates to approximately $300 million (Dh1.1 billion) in loans from Jafar, the founder of the Sharjah-based Crescent Group, to Abraaj and Naqvi.Jafar has since waived his rights to pursue the claim.

The last hearing was on July 11, when the case was adjourned to July 15. 

Last week, after the court postponed the case, an adviser of Jafar’s who attended the case said this [postponing of the case] would give all parties additional time to try to reach a viable negotiated settlement.

While both the parties have confirmed ongoing negotiations, a source said: “No resolution so far, nothing is signed.”

More clarity

While Abraaj did not offer any comment on the postponed court hearing yesterday and the prospects of a negotiated settlement, a company source told Gulf News earlier this week that there will be more clarity on the case by next week.

Last month, the public prosecutor’s office in Sharjah issued an arrest warrant against Naqvi and Lakhani. While Naqvi is out of the country, he is represented by Dr Habib Al Mulla, executive chairman at Baker McKenzie Habib Al Mulla, Hamid Jafar is represented by Essam Al Tamimi, Senior Partner at Al Tamimi & Co.

Faced with a liquidity crunch and court cases from investors and lenders, Abraaj, the Middle East and North Africa region’s largest private equity company is in the process of liquidating its fund management business. The group is also in the process of selling some of its assets.

Abraaj’s troubles began with investors including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the International Finance Corp making allegations of comingling and mishandling of their money in a $1 billion healthcare fund. Abraaj denies the misuse of funds.

Although audits by Deloitte did not find evidence of embezzlement or misappropriation, it highlighted a lack of adequate governance. 



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