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DUBAI: A Dubai court has appointed provisional liquidators to wind up Abraaj’s unit based at Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), after a similar process was carried out at the equity group’s Cayman entities.

Two individuals from Deloitte were appointed as joint provisional liquidators by the DIFC courts to oversee the winding up of Dubai-based private equity firm Abraaj Capital (ACL), the court said on Thursday.

Furthermore, Dubai’s financial services regulator has stopped Abraaj Capital from taking on new business or moving money to Abraaj Investment Management (AIML), as part of an investigation into the group.

“Given the onset of financial difficulties of the wider Abraaj Group, the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) has been closely monitoring the activities of its regulated entity ACL,” DFSA said in a statement on Thursday.

For the first since troubles began at the private-equity firm, the DFSA publicly stated that it is investigating Abraaj, which faces allegations by some investors of misusing their money in a $1 billion healthcare fund.

Abraaj has denied any wrongdoing, but the allegations triggered a solvency crisis at the Middle East and Africa’s largest buy-out fund, and threatened to dent Dubai’s reputation.

ACL is the only entity in the Abraaj Group regulated by DFSA, which issued its statement after two individuals from Deloitte were appointed as joint provisional liquidators by the DIFC courts to oversee the winding up of the private equity group.

The row with investors including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the International Finance Corp halted the firm’s fundraising activities and sparked debt repayment problems.

Abraaj Holdings and Abraaj Investment Management filed for provisional liquidation in the Cayman Islands in June, while potential buyers are looking to buy parts of the Abraaj investment management business.

DFSA, which has the power to fine or ban individuals or companies from working in financial services within the DIFC, made no reference to potential penalties Abraaj might face.

ACL has a limited mandate from AIML which includes managing assets, providing fund administration, as well as advising on and arranging investments.

Published in Dawn, August 17th, 2018