|15 January, 2020

Ex-Drake and Scull CEO Khaldoun Tabari arrested in Jordan airport

Tabari was the CEO of the loss-making company from 1998 until 2016

Image used for illustrative purpose. Workers erect scaffolding at a construction site of a metro rail station.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Workers erect scaffolding at a construction site of a metro rail station.

REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri

Khaldoun Tabari, the former CEO of Dubai-based contractor Drake and Scull International (DSI), was arrested at Jordan's Queen Alia International Airport in Amman on January 7, as he was catching a flight to the UK, a senior official at DSI, who asked not to be named told Zawya. 

Tabari's arrest followed a January 7 Interpol red alert issued by the UAE. Tabari was supposed to appear before Abu Dhabi’s Public Funds Prosecution for criminal charges filed by DSI on misappropriation of funds and misusing powers as CEO. But he never came for the hearing, and a travel ban was imposed by UAE.

Tabari who has been arrested in Amman, has since been released on bail after surrendering his passport as a personal guarantee. 

Tabari was the CEO of DSI from 1998 until 2016. As oil prices started plunging from more than $100 per barrel in September 2014 to below $30 by January 2016, the company started posting losses.

DSI has alleged that losses running into billions of dirhams were hidden from shareholders by the previous management between 2009 and 2017. The current management announced last year that accumulated losses had crossed more than 4 billion dirhams.

DSI had filed 15 criminal complaints against the previous management, board of directors and some of their family members. The complaints are still under investigation by the authorities. 

The UAE is trying to extradite Tabari. Both the UAE and Jordan are signatory parties to the Riyadh Arab Convention on Judicial Co-operation. Jordan has requested the UAE to send files regarding the cases so as to review, the DSI official told Zawya.

If extradited, Tabari could face a minimum of 15 years in prison, he said.

After Tabari left as CEO in 2016, DSI replaced many senior officials of the previous regime. Its shares on the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) have been suspended since November 2018.

(Reporting by Seban Scaria seban.scaria@refinitiv.com ; Editing by Anoop Menon

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© ZAWYA 2020

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