Dubai private equity firm contests regulator's $4.5mln penalty

Al Masah Capital says it has contested the allegations raised by the Dubai watchdog

Image used for illustrative purpose. Skyscrapers along Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, UAE.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Skyscrapers along Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, UAE.

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In response to the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) slamming $4.5 million in fines, Al Masah Capital and Al Masah Capital Management said they haven’t violated any government regulation over the conduct of their business.

On Monday, the DFSA announced that it has imposed $4.5 million in fines against the two entities at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) for breaches of the authority’s legislation between August 2010 and June 2016. 

According to the DFSA, Al Masah Capital Limited, a Cayman Islands-registered private-equity firm, carried on unauthorized financial services in the DIFC, such as managing a collective investment fund and arranging deals in investments. 

“[The firm] was not authorized to carry on any financial services in or from the DIFC,” the DFSA said in a statement.

Al Masah Capital founder Shailesh Dash, chief financial officer Nrupaditya Singhdeo and another individual identified as Don Lim Jung Chiat, were also named in the dispute and sanctioned $555,000 in penalties.

Al Masah Capital Management Limited, the DFSA said, allegedly misled investors about investment fees.

“In relation to the three individuals, the DFSA found that they were knowingly concerned in the alleged contraventions by the two firms,” said the authority.

When contacted by Zawya, the two firms said they have already contested the allegations raised by the DFSA before the Financial Markets Tribunal (FMT).

“The DFSA’s allegations are contested. Our position is that there has been no contravention of DFSA law or regulation,” Al Masah Capital and Al Masah Capital Management told Zawya, without providing more details.

Last September 2019, the DFSA decided to impose a $3 million fine against Al Masah Capital Limited and $1.5 million against Al Masah Capital Management Limited.

The Dubai-based watchdog also banned Dash, Singhdeo and Chiat from conducting any further business at the DIFC aside from imposing $555,000 in total fines.

The DFSA clarified that since the case has been referred to the Financial Markets Tribunal, its decisions are therefore considered “provisional.”

According to Al Masah Capital, the matter will still be determined by the Tribunal.

The DFSA has sanctioned several other financial services firms for alleged unauthorized activities. In one of the latest cases, the regulatory body imposed more than $612,000 in fines against La Tresorerie for allegedly providing illegal cash service to its clients.

(Reporting by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria) 


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