XPRESS story on MMA Forex scam published on September 12 Image Credit: XPRESS

DUBAI: After last week’s heart-wrenching story of a Pakistani father who failed to save his only child suffering from liver complications allegedly because his life savings lay frozen with MMA Forex, many people have contacted XPRESS with their individual tales of horror.

Even as Noureed Malik Awan, the beleaguered CEO of the parent MMA Group, tries to wash his hands of the online foreign exchange trading company facing suspicions of fraud, several blame him directly for their misfortunes.

An estimated Dh40 million is believed to have been paid by hundreds of investors — from different walks of life and nationalities — into the accounts of MMA Forex and a majority fear all the money has been lost for good.

Shattered trust

We are one of the victims of the MMA fraud. My wife and I invested in the scheme last year. I am still hoping that we get our investment back. I have yet to lodge a complaint with the authorities against MMA, but I know some clients who have already complained to the authorities nine months back, but there has been no progress as yet. Sometime back, I sent an email to Noureed Malik Awan and within a few minutes I got a reply from him. I would like to share the details. Here’s what he replied:

I am honoured to reply to my stake holder. Pak MMA is working properly and making money. The only problem is that the profit will be released once the investigation is over as our UAE account is locked and all our funds are in Switzerland and USA. As soon as investigations finish we will release your profit and thanks for your trust in MMA.

Name withheld, UAE

Attracted by returns

I am a Dubai-born Pakistani and recently took up a job at a motor company here. Last year our whole family, except for my brother, moved to Pakistan due to financial reasons. My brother had taken a few bank loans and was looking out for a source of income to help him solve his financial problems. He then came across MMA. He didn’t have enough cash to invest, so he took a loan from a finance company (of Dh40,000) and invested it in MMA as they had promised him attractive returns. He just received two payments from them when he lost his job. But while seeking employment, one of the banks filed a case against him for defaulting on his payments. He is now sure to go to jail and I cannot help him as I’m still under probation in my new job. My brother tried to contact MMA several times and they kept on telling him that he will get his money, but nothing happened. I just want to make other people aware not to fall for such schemes.

Name withheld, UAE

$100,000 plus stake

My friends and I have invested more than $100,000 in MMA Forex. I started doubting the company’s credibility when I learned that most of MMA’s employees were either on a visit visa or husband’s or father’s visa. But I was fully convinced that there was something amiss when MMA CEO Noureed Malik Awan, under the banner of MMA Forex, started sponsoring cricket matches and throwing lavish parties in five-star hotels. I deeply regret investing in MMA. Financially I am going through a difficult time. My father who was suffering from cancer died in March and I was in need of money then. I had called up MMA umpteen times to get some money back, but they did not respond. I would like to warn other people not to fall for such schemes.

Name withheld, UAE

Lured by commercial

I am one of those who was cheated by MMA scheme. I think the authorities should keep a check on ads in newspapers and radio and probe companies if they have any doubts about their dealings.

I was driving in my car when I heard an MMA Forex ad on the radio. Lured by the handsome returns, I immediately called MMA and made arrangements to invest $4,000 in the scheme. Later, just to make the scheme sound more believable, MMA told me that I was one of their loyal customers, hence they would credit my account with an additional $500. Initially, I started receiving paybacks from them, but that stopped soon. When I called MMA to check about it, they told me that their boss was behind bars and all complaints would be looked into only after he is released from jail. It’s been a year since then and I have not heard anything. Whenever I call them, they give me silly excuses. Please help us to get our money back from these gangsters.

Name withheld, UAE

Lost my entire savings

I am a victim of Noureed Malik Awan’s scheme. Initially, I invested Dh3,000 and very soon I started getting paybacks from them. Attracted by the returns, I put my entire savings in the scheme. My salary is only Dh5,000 and now I am having difficulty sending money back home to support my family. I feel ashamed to call Awan a countryman. People like him have no principles in life. I have not complained until now because I fear I will never see my money again.

Name withheld, UAE

Wedding dreams dashed

I invested $5,000 in MMA last year after being told that they are one of the best investment companies around. Since then, I haven’t received a single fil from them. Whenever I called them they gave me a different story. They also told me not to go to the police otherwise I would have to “say goodbye to my investment”. I had invested in MMA hoping to use it later for my wedding. I am now getting married in December and desperately need money for my wedding expenses. I am not interested in any profits, I just want my money back.

Name withheld, UAE

Haven’t got a single fils

I invested Dh50,000 with MMA Forex in October 2012. I received one payment from them in December the same year. But after that Noureed Malik Awan (who is now behind bars) fled to Pakistan. Following this, many investors filed complaints with the police. Consequently, the MMA Forex office in Dubai was sealed by the police. But during this period, we kept on receiving SMSes and emails from Awan telling us to be patient and not to complain to the police as this would only delay the process of getting our money back. Moreover, he also mentioned in his message that he would pay us the pending profits in February 2013. In January 2013, the MMA office in Dubai was reopened. The staff there told us that the pending amount would be distributed in February. It is September now and we have yet to receive a single fils from MMA.

Name withheld, UAE

People are responsible

I hold the public responsible for getting cheated. Have they forgotten the scams that took place during the economical downturn? Greed is what makes them invest in such quick-rich schemes. There will be always be companies such as MMA benefitting from such people.

Name withheld, UAE

MMA copies speech

I came across a speech by the managing director of MMA Airlines which was copied from another speech given by an official of another airline. Only a few lines are different. I have highlighted parts of the MMA director’s and the Biman Bangladesh Airlines director’s speeches. I just want to prove to you their crooked methods of operation.

Daljeet Singh Bagga, Dubai

Original speech:

On behalf of Biman Bangladesh Airlines, the national flag carrier of my country, I extend my heartiest welcome to you. We feel proud that you have preferred us to travel to your destination which may be one of the 19 cities across two continents that Biman serves.

Wherever you are going, we have taken every possible measure to make this flight comfortable and pleasurable. We take the greatest care to give you a taste of our age-old traditional hospitality of Bangladesh.

We are aware that understanding the customer is most basic factor in increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty. We are in the web since 1998 and has now engineered another revolution to add a new window of passenger service. Biman now offers a Flexible Price Viewing System through this website.

(To read the original full speech go to: http://www.worldfolio.co.uk/companies/biman-airlines-bangladesh)

What MMA copied

Dear Guests,

On behalf of MMA Airlines I extend my heartiest welcome to you. We feel proud that you have preferred us to travel to your destinations that MMA serves.

Wherever you are going, we have taken every possible measure to make this flight comfortable and pleasurable. We take the greatest care to give you a taste of our age hospitality.

Despite difficult times for the worldwide aviation industry, MMA Airline is steadily improving its product and services. Our strides in growth, development and transformation have placed their stamp on the past couple of months. The decision to enhance frequencies reinforces the airline’s commitment to avail convenient and adequate services to our valued guests. Guests travelling on MMA Airline route network now will have more choices and flexibilities as a result of additional frequencies. We owe a debt of gratitude to those that have stayed by our side and given their trust and support on their upcoming journey. As always, on behalf of all employees of MMA Airlines and myself, thank you very much for choosing to fly with us. We look forward to welcoming you on board soon.

Noreen Khan, Managing 
Director, MMA Airlines