UAE | General

Investors in limbo after firm in Dubai stops profit payouts

More than 200 people claim MMA Forex Online Trading Services will not return their money

  • By Janice Ponce de Leon, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 14:07 August 24, 2013
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News
  • A group of investors of MMA Forex gather in front of the office of MMA Bank GT to demand that the company return their hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of investments.

Dubai: Scores of foreign exchange (forex) investors in the country are in financial limbo after the unexpected closure of a Dubai forex trading company where they invested millions of dirhams.

Around 30 investors of MMA Forex Online Trading Services trooped to the Mai Tower in Al Qusais on Saturday, demanding that the company return their money.

A sign that read “under renovation” was posted on the door of MMA Forex on the 11th floor. The building’s security told Gulf News that Dubai Police’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) shut down the office six months ago based on fraud allegations.

“I invested $25,000 [Dh91,825] at MMA Forex. Half of it came from my savings, and for the other half I took out a loan,” Zahid, 32, from Pakistan, told Gulf News. “The sad thing is, I invited two of my friends to invest as well.”

Zahid said he is barely surviving because of the loan payments.

“Sixty per cent of my salary goes to the repayment of my loan. What’s left is enough for survival,” he said.

He is among the more than 200 people who have been waiting to reclaim their money from the company in the past ten months.

An investor, who preferred not to be identified said he invested $12,000 from his children’s educational fund. “I am mentally tortured every day as it seems I have [compromised] my children’s future.”

“We want our money [back], we are going hungry. We have too many problems. We have to pay our rent, everything else,” said an Indian resident who invested $78,800.

MMA Forex’s client portfolio includes professionals from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and the Philippines. Some pooled resources together while one invested using his friend’s money.

“Now he’s [friend] giving me a problem back home. He’s threatening [to hurt] my family if I can’t repay him,” said S.A., a cleaner who invested Dh31,000 on behalf of his friend.

Forex trading is the business of making profits by speculating on the value of one currency compared to another.

Investors told Gulf News that MMA Forex offered clients an investor-managed trading account for a minimum investment of $5,000, promising up to 12 per cent in monthly profits. An expert-assisted account requires a minimum deposit of $3,000, that, in cases of losses, would not be more than 15 per cent of their investment.

For the investor-managed account, investors said they were assured of the safety of their investment through a clause in the contract that said: “The client is not exposed to any threat of loss. If any loss occurs, MMA Forex will be responsible for it.”

However, from October 2012 investors stopped earning profits. The MMA Forex management told them they could not pay them for the next two months. The two months extended to ten. When they tried to pull out their money, it was to no avail.

Investors also demanded answers from MMABank GT situated on the 15th floor of the same tower, where some investors claim they deposited their money.

MMABank GT is part of the MMA Group of Companies of which Malek Noureed Awan is the CEO. Awan, a Pakistani businessman in his 20s, is currently being detained at Al Qusais Police Station. He is under investigation for complaints filed against him by MMA Forex investors.

When Gulf News spoke to Awan, he said the investors were mistaken in their complaint. “I have no relations with MMA Forex. They are just blackmailing me to take their money,” Awan said in a pre-arranged teleconference. “I was not in charge of MMA Forex. It is only a company related to my family.”

Gulf News pointed out to Awan that his company’s website mentioned that one of their milestones was the “setup of MMA Forex Online Trading in 2006”. Awan insisted that his company’s name was “MMA Financial Investments Online Trading” of which MMA Bank GT was a member.

Two days after Gulf News accessed MMA’s website, the same text that Gulf News pointed out to Awan was altered to bear the name of “MMA Financial Investments Online Trading”.

On further investigation, Gulf News noted that the main contents and company profiles on the websites of MMA Forex and Awan’s MMABank GT are identical. The number of forex trading brokers, their trade volumes, trading tools, among others mirrored each other.

The MMA Forex contracts obtained by Gulf News also had stamps from MMABank GT.

A quick search online pointed to a video interview of ARY News with Awan that was posted on YouTube two years ago. The video segment showed him talking about MMA Forex, saying it has 100,000 customers worldwide.

“We have 72 branches all over the world. We have our own platform and we have broker houses here,” he said in the interview.

Comments (11)

  1. Added 14:39 August 25, 2013

    I invested 55,000$ and I have been cheated by them, even the Office manager Ali Sadiq is still lying and is denying the interview taken by Gulf news. I want to request authorities to take serious actions on him and his boss who is under custody.

    Tuba, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 14:28 August 25, 2013

    Thank god , they kept on sending me emails and sms to invest ,but by Gods grace I was keeping deleting each and every mails and sms from them. Really feeling sad for the poor people.

    BONEY BERSLEEBI, AL-AIN, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 14:28 August 25, 2013

    People are still getting lured into these schemes on a daily basis, the stories I hear are endless, I hope this is a wake up call to everyone who has invested in shady companies that offer absolutely no regulations are not at all transparent, I also hope this doesn't affect the rest of the ethical and regulated FX brokers out there who are trying hard to raise awareness and provide an ethical trading environment to clients who are interested in trading. Don't believe in miracles or short term luck. Trading is not about those things. Its about brain, strategy, and consistency/discipline.

    Sara, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 14:21 August 25, 2013

    If it is too good to be true, probably it is false. These financial thugs feed off people's greed and mentality of making quick money with less hardship. If these people had invested in something that was more under their control, could've made same or bigger profits, like a small business. What MMA has done definitely needs to be punished and peoples hard earned money should be returned ...

    Matt, Sydney, Austria

  5. Added 13:23 August 25, 2013

    This is very disappointing news about Mr. Malik Noureed Awan, who announced to launch airline and claim many warfare activity.

    Muhammad, Islamabad, Pakistan

  6. Added 13:11 August 25, 2013

    I invested 50,000$ got one month profit after that complete silence. My children are suffering because of this huge amount which I took loan from bank and invested in MMA forex.

    Rabia Rafique, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  7. Added 12:33 August 25, 2013

    malik nureed awan is big cheater i lost all my money

    abdullah khan, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  8. Added 11:38 August 25, 2013

    these people have been running their ponzy schemes under professional disguises for so long and have gone undetected till now, what is more worrying is that the physical offices are closed but their website has not been shut down by the authorities giving the other people people who are attached to this fraud an oppurtunity to keep doing the fraud they have been doing, now more online then physical. which is more dangerous as internet has no boundaries and will instill more damage

    ameen, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  9. Added 11:32 August 25, 2013

    I have lost all my savings my investing with MMA forex, the owner is now claiming that he has got nothing to do with MMA forex! This is surreal, what a bunch of lies he is trying to propagate. I donno what to do next!

    firas, DUBAI, United Arab Emirates

  10. Added 11:12 August 25, 2013

    I don’t understand how come such educated people were lured into his net, just to get 3-5% extra. Even the imprisonment of 3-5 years will not compensate the agony of these common men.

    Ismail, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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