Ex-Abraaj executive reaches deal with Dubai regulator


Waqar Siddique, former managing director of defunct private equity firm Abraaj Group, has reached an agreement with the Dubai Financial Services Authority.

Mr Siddique was fined $1.15million by the DFSA in January 2022 and also barred from operating in Dubai’s international financial hub, for ‘gross misconduct’ over Abraaj .

It then referred the DFSA’s findings for review by the independent Financial Markets Tribunal. Following an agreement reached with the DFSA on October 14, Mr Siddique has withdrawn his FMT reference and will not challenge the DFSA’s findings, the regulator said on Wednesday.

The settlement includes provisions to secure payment to the DFSA, he said.

The Abraaj Group, which was founded in 2002 and claimed to manage around $14 billion in assets at its peak, was the largest private equity firm in the Middle East and one of the most active emerging market investors. worldwide, with interests in Africa, Asia and Latin America. and the Middle East.

It was forced into liquidation in 2018 after investors including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation commissioned an audit to investigate allegations of money mismanagement in its billion-dollar healthcare fund.

This investigation served to further investigate the company, and allegations of misappropriation of funds obtained from US investors have drawn the attention of the Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as other US authorities.

Mr Siddique, who has not been a resident of the UAE for several years, was a member of the management team of the Abraaj Group, alongside the company’s founder, Arif Naqvi, who was fined over of $135 million and also banned from doing business in the DIFC “for gross misconduct” with respect to the company.

Mr Naqvi is in the UK and faces extradition to the US, where he faces trial for fraud and money laundering.

Earlier this month, the DFSA fined KPMG LLP $1.5 million and former chief audit officer Milind Navalkar $500,000 for failing to follow international standards during audits. ACLD for several years until October 2017.

In November 2021, the DFSA fined former Abraaj managing partner Mustafa Abdel-Wadood $1.9 million for breaking its rules and misleading investors, in addition to banning him from conducting any financial services activity in the DIFC.

He is the only defendant to have appeared in US court, pleading guilty to seven counts against him. He is cooperating with the US government and is out on $10 million bail in New York City pending sentencing.

In addition to his senior position with the Abraaj Group, Mr. Siddique was also an Approved Person as an Approved Director of Abraaj Capital Limited and was “knowingly involved in certain breaches of Abraaj Investment Management Limited (AIML) and ‘Abraaj Capital Limited (ACLD),’ the DFSA said. .

Mr. Siddique was “knowingly involved in the AIML which misled and deceived investors about the use of their money in funds managed by Abraaj, including being a signatory to loan agreements used to produce confirmations of misleading bank balances and misleading financial statements,” the regulator said.

He was also “knowingly implicated in ACLD’s breaches of failing to maintain its capital requirements” and, over a five-year period, authorized the majority of temporary fund transfers at the end of the period. quarterly reporting, the DFSA said.

“It continues to be a priority for the DFSA to hold older people to account,” said Ian Johnston, chief executive of the DFSA.

“We have continued to pay the fine even though the individual and their assets are no longer in the UAE. This demonstrates the DFSA’s commitment to pursuing actions against the subjects and collecting the fines imposed on them, regardless of their location.

Updated: October 26, 2022, 09:21


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