Arif Naqvi, founder of the embattled private equity firm Abraaj, denied a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report that claimed Naqvi directed some of the company funds to his or family accounts.
The WSJ reported saying that about $600 million (Dh2.2 billion) was moved without the knowledge of most investors into bank accounts that forensic accountants call the Abraaj treasury, and about $200 million flowed from those accounts to Naqvi and people close to him. The WSJ report sourced this information to company documents and sources.
“The allegations against me are entirely false and vehemently denied. They are premised on isolated extracts from illegally obtained documents that have been taken entirely out of context,” Naqvi said in an emailed statement.
“I confirm that I have neither misused nor misappropriated any Abraaj funds. There was nothing untoward about my requests for transfers of Abraaj Group funds to me or my family, or for my personal investments or obligations,” he said.
The report also said that Naqvi tried offer a $20 million payment to businessman Navaid Malik to sell the private equity firm’s stake in Pakistan-based K-Electric Ltd through the assistance of then prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his brother.
“It appears that unidentified individuals who are unfairly biased against me and Abraaj are seeking to undermine the sale of K-Electric, damage mine and Abraaj’s reputation, and thereby prejudice the creditors of the Abraaj Group. I can say unequivocally that I have never contemplated, directed, authorised or paid any bribes with respect to the K- Electric sale,” Naqvi added.
Abraaj has been accused of misusing funds by investors that include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the International Finance Corp. The funds were meant for investments in its health care funds.