Abraaj Capital founder gets record $20m bail: report

Published May 4, 2019
Naqvi included a phone number for PM Imran on a list given to police of “telephone numbers to contact if necessary”.
Naqvi included a phone number for PM Imran on a list given to police of “telephone numbers to contact if necessary”.

KARACHI: The founder of Dubai-based private equity fund Abraaj Capital, Arif Naqvi, was granted conditional bail of $20 million after a London judge dismissed prosecutors’ bid to keep him in custody while he fought extradition to the US, the Bloomberg reported on Friday.

According to Mr Naqvi’s filings for the hiring as cited in the Bloomberg report, the bond amount is “the largest security ever ordered in the UK”.

During his bail, the 58-year-old must surrender his travel documents, wear an electronic tag and stay in his London home. Mr Naqvi’s bail conditions effectively amount to house arrest, it quoted the judge as saying.

Prosecutors said they feared he might flee to Pakistan rather than face the American charges. An electronic monitoring tag “is not a panacea, as anyone involved in Mr Assange’s case will tell you”, Rachel Kapila, the US government’s lawyer, said at the hearing.

Arif Naqvi gave PM Imran Khan’s phone number to police

“I am not persuaded” that “there’s a real risk” that Naqvi would fail to surrender to authorities, “if appropriate conditions are imposed” on his bail, the judge said on Friday.

Abraaj had been the largest buyout fund in the Middle East and North Africa until it collapsed last May, after the Gates Foundation and other investors raised concerns about the management of its $1 billion healthcare fund.

Mr Naqvi denies the accusations and says the idea he took money out for his own personal benefit is “ludicrous”.

Imran’s contact number

According to the US government in its filings for Friday’s hearing cited in the report, Mr Naqvi included a phone number for Prime Minister Imran Khan on a list given to police of “telephone numbers to contact if necessary” when he was arrested at London’s Heathrow airport in April.

Mr Naqvi has been friends with Mr Khan for over 20 years, his lawyer Hugo Keith said in court, and that was no reason to deny him bail.

“Is the prime minister of Pakistan going to send a jet for him?” Mr Keith said. “He’s not going to enable flight.”

Prosecutors had last week said the phone number was that of the president, rather than the prime minister.

Mr Naqvi’s sureties inc­lude Javed Ahmed, the former chief executive officer of Tate & Lyle Plc, who’s “willing to stand 300,000 pounds” for him, Mr Keith said at the hearing.

Published in Dawn, May 4th, 2019

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