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Abraaj founder’s extradition case adjourned

Updated April 19, 2019

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US Securities and Exchange Commission alleges that Arif Naqvi and his firm raised money for Abraaj Growth Markets Health Fund. ─ Dawn/File
US Securities and Exchange Commission alleges that Arif Naqvi and his firm raised money for Abraaj Growth Markets Health Fund. ─ Dawn/File

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 US extradition request linked to the same charges.

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 US charges that they defrauded their investors, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The US SEC alleges that Naqvi and his firm raised money for the Abraaj Growth Markets Health Fund, collecting more than $100m over three years from US-based charitable organisations and other US investors.

Another former executive arrested

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 appeared in the court on Thursday, but didn’t speak. His lawyer said a bail hearing was scheduled for next week where a ‘substantial security’ would be offered for securing his release on bail.

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

Published in Dawn, April 19th, 2019