Dubai: The head of Habtoor Leighton Group (HLG), one of the leading diversified international contractors in the Middle East, has been arrested in Dubai.
HLG’s parent company, Australia-based Cimic Group (formerly known as Leighton Holdings), said in a statement to the Australian bourse on Thursday that “as a result of a complaint filed with police in Dubai, the CEO and MD of HLG, Jose Antonio Lopez-Monis, was arrested after market close on Wednesday.”
The group offered no information about the nature of the arrest, saying it would update the market when further information was available.
HLG, which is 45 per cent owned by Cimic, said in a statement that it is assisting Lopez-Monis.
When contacted by Gulf News, Al Habtoor Group said in an emailed statement: “As this is a Habtoor Leighton Group (HLG) related matter, and as HLG is a separate independent entity, please address any question related to HLG directly to its management.”
Cimic was not available for comment when contacted by Gulf News.
An HLG media communications spokesperson, meanwhile, said that the company had no comments regarding its chief’s arrest.
Al Habtoor Group had launched a legal action against Cimic and the joint venture itself — HLG — in July this year, without stating the reason behind the same. Al Habtoor Group, said in a statement to the media in May this year that it has no relationship with Al Habtoor Leighton. “The Al Habtoor Group LLC officially announces that it has no relationship with the company Al Habtoor Leighton LLC, also known as Al Habtoor Leighton Group (HLG). The Al Habtoor Group LLC’s core focus is on hospitality, automotive and real estate sectors, as well as car rental and education,” the group stated. It further clarified that the construction company Al Habtoor Leighton LLC is “not its subsidiary and that Al Habtoor Group LLC has no role in the day to day operations of HLG.”
The partnership, which was struck in 2007, started to deteriorate soon after the global financial crisis in 2008 when some big projects started to go off the rails.