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|28 October, 2018

Timeline: The main events in Abraaj's downfall

New York Times and the Wall Street Journal reveal concerns among several international investors

Image used for illustrative purpose. Arif M. Naqvi, Founder and Group Chief Executive, Abraaj Capital, of the United Arab Emirates, attends a session at the World Economic Forum. File Image.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Arif M. Naqvi, Founder and Group Chief Executive, Abraaj Capital, of the United Arab Emirates, attends a session at the World Economic Forum. File Image.

REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

Feb. 2: The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal reveal concerns among several international investors, including the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation over Abraaj’s handling of hundreds of millions of dollars they have provided to a $1 billion health care fund managed by Abraaj.

The newspapers state that the investors had hired independent auditors as they were worried that money had been diverted from the fund and used by the company for other purposes.

Feb. 4: Abraaj denies the reports, which it said in a statement on its website were linked to its Abraaj Growth Markets Health Fund (AGHF), stating that “all capital that was drawn from AGHF investors was for approved Fund investments”.

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“Some capital was not used as quickly as anticipated due to unforeseen political and regulatory developments in several of the Fund’s operating markets,” the company added. It said that it had also hired KPMG to “verify all receipts and payments made by the Fund”.

Feb. 23: Abraaj’s founder and CEO Arif Naqvi steps down from managing the company’s funds unit, handing the role over to two co-chief executives, Reuters reported, quoting a statement from the firm.

March 29: Bloomberg reports that Abraaj is cutting around 15 percent of its total workforce.

April 15: Reuters reports that Abraaj has hired consultancy firm Deloitte to conduct a review of its business after investors questioned the earlier probe by KPMG.

May 7: Bloomberg reports that Abraaj is in talks to sell a majority stake in its fund management unit to US-based investment firm Colony North Star.

June 4: Abraaj says it expects to reach a deal with its secured creditors, Reuters reports, although it says an unsecured Kuwaiti creditor is holding out.

June 6: Kuwait’s state-owned Public Institution for Social Security (PIFSS) refuses to agree to a debt settlement deal with Abraaj and instead pursues a petition at the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands - where the company’s parent firm Abraaj Holdings is based – to liquidate the firm.

June 10: Deloitte’s review finds that Abraaj has commingled about $95 million between funds and the company’s own accounts, according to Bloomberg.

June 14: Abraaj files for provisional liquidation in the Cayman Islands, the company confirms in a statement to the media.

June 18: PwC states that Simon Conway, Michael Jervis and Mohammed Farzadi were appointed as Joint Provisional Liquidators to Abraaj Holdings by a Cayman Islands court on June 18. Abraaj announces the appointment of PWC and Deloitte as joint provisional liquidators in a statement on its website on June 19.

June 26: UAE authorities issue arrest warrants against Naqvi and fellow executive Rafique Lakhani for issuing a $48 million cheque without sufficient funds, according to a prosecution document seen by Reuters.

June 28: Abraaj chairman Sean Cleary resigns from his post, Abraaj confirms.

Jul 15: A UAE-court dismisses the bounced cheque case, according to several media reports.

Jul 31: Naqvi and Lakhani face another $218 million bounced cheque case, according to media reports.

Aug 12: Naqvi resigns from the board of the Sharjah-based, low-cost airline Air Arabia, according to an Air Arabia statement posted on the Dubai Financial Market.

Aug 16: Investors in the Abraaj Growth Markets Health Fund appoint consulting firm AlixPartners to oversee the fund’s separation from the remainder of the Dubai-based Abraaj Group’s businesses, according to a statement from the firm.

Aug 28: An out-of-court settlement is reached over the second bounced cheque case after a United Arab Emirates (UAE) court sentenced Naqvi and Lakhani to three years in prison, according to several media reports.

Sep 26: Abraaj staff are asked to vacate the firm’s offices in Dubai as liquidators begin dismantling the firm’s operations, according to The National.

(Compiled by Yasmine Saleh; Editing by Michael Fahy)
(yasmine.saleh@refinitiv.com)


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