The DFSA has in recent months issued heavy penalties on former Abraaj officials over its acts of omission and financial misdemeanors. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: A former official at Abraaj Group – Waqar Siddique – will be fined Dh4.22 million by the DIFC regulator DFSA for ‘serious failings’ related to his time with the group. Siddique, who was the COO at Abraaj, has withdrawn his review petition with the Financial Markets Tribunal.

What this means is he will not contest the DFSA findings as set in the regulator’s Decision Notice of June 2021. The settlement include arrangements to secure payment to the DFSA, ‘notwithstanding the fact that Siddique has not been a resident in the UAE for a number of years’.

Siddique was a member of the Abraaj Group’s senior management team and an ‘authorised individual’ as ACLD’s licensed director. “In those roles, Mr. Siddique was knowingly involved in certain Abraaj Investment Management Limited (AIML) and Abraaj Capital Limited (ACLD) breaches,” DFSA notes.

“Mr. Siddique was knowingly involved in AIML misleading and deceiving investors over the use of their monies within funds managed by Abraaj, including by being a signatory to loan agreements used to produce misleading bank balance confirmations and misleading financial statements.

Mr. Siddique was knowingly involved in ACLD’s contraventions of not maintaining its capital requirements, as over a five-year period he authorised the majority of temporary cash transfers at quarterly reporting period ends. In doing so, Mr. Siddique also failed to act with integrity in carrying out his licensed function at ACLD.”

Action against Abraaj

In the near past, DFSA has initiated multiple actions against former top officials at the disgraced investment firm, and those entities close to its operations. “The DFSA fined and banned Mr. Siddique for his knowing involvement in serious wrongdoing at Abraaj and to act as a deterrent against misconduct by senior management,” said Ian Johnston, Chief Executive of DFSA. “It continues to be a priority of the DFSA to hold senior individuals to account.

“As with the former Abraaj CFO, Mr. Ashish Dave, we have pursued payment of the fine even though the individual and his assets are no longer in the UAE. This demonstrates the DFSA’s commitment to pursuing action against subjects and collecting the fines imposed on them, irrespective of their locations.”