Abraaj founder and managing partner arrested on fraud charges
Abraaj founder Aref Naqvi and managing partner Mustafa Abdel-Wadood have been arrested on fraud charges at the request of US prosecutors, according to Reuters. US prosecutors are seeking extradition for Naqvi, who was arrested in the UK on Friday. “Mr Naqvi maintains his innocence, and he fully expects to be cleared of any charges,” a statement from Naqvi’s external PR firm reads. Abdel-Wadood, who appeared at a federal court hearing in Manhattan, pleaded not guilty to charges of securities fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy. Prosecutors have accused Naqvi and Abdel-Wadood of artificially inflating the value of Abraaj’s EM assets by more than USD 500 mn and of using the proceeds to fund Abraaj’s own operating costs without notifying investors, according to Bloomberg. Prosecutors also allege that Naqvi may have used the funds for personal purposes. Abraaj was widely seen as a standard-bearer of emerging markets private equity before it collapsed last year amid concerns about the misuse of funds.