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Monday, 1 July 2019

Former Abraaj exec Mustafa Abdel-Wadood pleads guilty to racketeering, fraud charges

Former Abraaj exec Mustafa Abdel-Wadood pleads guilty to racketeering, fraud charges: Former Abraaj managing partner Mustafa Abdel-Wadood has pleaded guilty to racketeering and securities-fraud charges at a court in New York, Reuters reports. Abdel-Wadood admitted to lying to investors at the behest of Abraaj founder Arif Naqvi, and agreed to cooperate with US authorities. “When things turned bad in 2014, I should have walked away,” the Wall Street Journal quotes Abdel-Wadood as saying in a prepared court statement. “I considered it but didn’t. My commitment to Abraaj compromise the integrity of my judgment, and I ended up drifting from who I really am.”

Both Abdel-Wadood and Naqvi were arrested in April and released on bail the following month. The US is attempting to extradite Naqvi from London, who is currently under effective house arrest after paying USD 19 mn conditional bail. The US attorney’s office for the southern district of New York stepped up the probe into Abraaj two weeks ago, announcing that three more executives would face fraud charges. Abraaj was the largest emerging-markets private equity firm in the world before it collapsed last year amid concerns that funds were being misused.

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