Dubai: Disgruntled investors of a Dubai-based foreign exchange (forex) company said they had had enough of the company executive’s lies and threats and demanded their money back on Friday.
A group of MMA Forex investors trooped to the Al Ghusais police station to lodge a complaint against its company chief executive Malek Noureed Awan, who they said is responsible for their financial troubles.
The company was shut down by Dubai Police’s Criminal Investigation Department six months ago following allegations of fraud.
On August 24 Gulf News had reported that around 200 MMA Forex investors had been waiting to claim their money from the company since October last year.
At least Dh40 million worth of investments remain unaccounted for, with most of the money coming from investors’ life savings and personal loans.
The company requires $3,000 (Dh11,016) to open an account with them. Some investors who talked to Gulf News claim they had invested more than $100,000.
The decision to file a group police complaint came following a closed-door teleconference with Awan at his MMABank GT office at Mai Tower in Al Ghusais on Friday afternoon.
During the meeting, investors were allowed to speak to Awan who is currently in police custody. Investors are desperate to get their money back.
“Our main concern is for higher authorities to please listen to our plea. Please help us solve this matter. If Malek Noureed Awan doesn’t have the money to pay us back, then we want him to be in jail for the rest of his life. We don’t want to see him out as a free bird,” a spokesperson of the group told Gulf News.
During the 25-minute teleconference, investors said Awan openly threatened them that he would not return their money if they report the matter to the police or discuss their concerns with the media.
Investors said Awan repeatedly tried to tarnish the reputation of this reporter in front of all the investors and vehemently denied that Gulf News interviewed him for the August 24 expose.
During Gulf News’ investigation, Awan denied through the phone and through e-mail his links with the now defunct MMA Forex. But upon further investigation, Gulf News revealed that MMABank GT, of which Awan is the CEO, was closely linked with MMA Forex in that virtually both their websites’ information are identical. Both offices operate in the same building, and both offices had Awan as the CEO in many of his media interviews in Dubai.
Gulf News also contacted the administration office of the tower where they operate and an official said both offices are one and the same and are owned by one person — Awan.
MMABank GT’s operations are also contrary to their trade licence which said they are a general trading company. MMA Forex, on the other hand, is not listed with the government of Dubai or with the UAE Central Bank.
International groups have warned their citizens to be wary doing business with these companies. MMABank GT is listed under the “Firms you should avoid doing business with” by the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority and the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority. MMA Forex is in the watch list of the Investor Alerts of the International Organisation of Securities Commissions as listed by the Central Bank of Ireland.