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|18 April, 2019

Abraaj founder's extradition case adjourned, another former exec arrested- court official

The official told Reuters that a former managing partner of Dubai-based Abraaj, Sev Vettivetpillai, had also been arrested

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. Image for illustrative purposes.

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. Image for illustrative purposes.

REUTERS/Ruben Sprich

LONDON- A case in a London court to extradite Arif Naqvi, the founder of collapsed private equity firm Abraaj, to the United States on fraud charges, was adjourned until April 26, a court official said on Thursday.

The official told Reuters that a former managing partner of Dubai-based Abraaj, Sev Vettivetpillai, had also been arrested and was facing a U.S. extradition request linked to the same charges.

Vettivetpillai could not be reached for a comment.

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Whilst at Abraaj, Vettivetpillai was head of impact investing in a role that oversaw the firm's troubled healthcare fund. Abraaj's executives are facing U.S. charges that they defrauded their investors, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission alleges that Naqvi and his firm raised money for the Abraaj Growth Markets Health Fund, collecting more than $100 million over three years from U.S.-based charitable organisations and other U.S. investors.

According to the SEC's complaint, Naqvi misappropriated money from the health fund and commingled the assets with corporate funds of Abraaj Investment Management and its parent company, and used it for purposes unrelated to the health fund.

Naqvi, in a statement released through a PR firm, pleaded innocent last week.

Naqvi was arrested in the United Kingdom earlier this month, while managing partner Mustafa Abdel-Wadood was arrested at a New York hotel, Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrea Griswold said at a hearing in Manhattan federal court on April 11.

Dubai's financial services regulator said on Monday that it was in touch with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission about the latest case involving collapsed private equity firm Abraaj. 

(Reporting by Tom Arnold; Writing by Saeed Azhar; Editing by Alexandra Hudson) ((Saeed.azhar@thomsonreuters.com))

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