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|14 August, 2018

UAE court to issue judgment against Abraaj founder on Aug. 26 -lawyer

This comes as Dubai-based Abraaj's provisional liquidators seek to sell its investment management business.

Arif Naqvi, Founder and Group Chief Executive of Abraaj Group attends the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, January 17, 2017.

Arif Naqvi, Founder and Group Chief Executive of Abraaj Group attends the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, January 17, 2017.

REUTERS/Ruben Sprich

SHARJAH - A United Arab Emirates court will issue a judgment on August 26 against the founder of private equity firm Abraaj, Arif Naqvi, and another executive for issuing a cheque without sufficient funds, a lawyer involved in the case said on Tuesday.

This comes as Dubai-based Abraaj's provisional liquidators seek to sell its investment management business.

The criminal case in the emirate of Sharjah relates to a cheque for 798 million dirham ($217.3 million), signed by Naqvi and a fellow executive and written to Hamid Jafar, another founding shareholder in Abraaj.

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Khalid al-Bannay, from Al Tamimi & Co, the law firm representing Jafar, said the court on Tuesday reserved the case for judgement on Aug. 26. 

Habib al-Mulla, Naqvi's lawyer, said the court's decision was expected.

"Negotiations are still ongoing between the parties and hopefully they will reach a settlement before the next hearing," he said.

Naqvi is the single biggest shareholder of Abraaj Holdings, which owns the investment management business.

Abraaj filed for provisional liquidation in the Cayman Islands in June after months of turmoil related to a row with investors over the use of their money in a $1 billion healthcare fund.

Potential buyers are also being sought for Abraaj's investment management business, with a partnership of Kuwait’s Agility and United States-based Centerbridge Partners among the interested bidders, Reuters reported on Monday, citing a finance source. Others include York Capital Management and Abu Dhabi Financial Group.

($1 = 3.6728 UAE dirham)

(Reporting By Tom Arnold; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Kirsten Donovan) ((Tom.Arnold@thomsonreuters.com; +97144536265; Reuters Messaging:tom.arnold.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))