Abu Dhabi: A former head of Kuwait’s national pension fund is being sued for more than half a billion dollars that he had allegedly took in “commissions” while investing the state’s oil wealth, Kuwaiti media reported quoting the Times.
Fahad Al Rajaan, a pillar of the Gulf’s financial establishment with directorships across the region, bought diamonds and houses in Los Angeles and an apartment in St Moritz, the Swiss ski resort, Okaz quoted the Times.
It is claimed Al Rajaan circulated tens of millions of dollars through bank accounts and front companies in Switzerland, Lebanon, Singapore, the Bahamas and the British Virgin Islands. His lawyers say he cannot pay back the cash because he has spent most of it.
A case has been filed against him by Kuwait’s national pension fund at London High Court, demanding a freeze on and recovery of $847 million (Dh3.11 billion), which Al Rajaan and the other accused had invested illegally. Al Rajaan’s share of the funds amount to $513 million.
Extradition from Britain sought in 2007
The Kuwaiti fund said in its lawsuit that Al Rajaan led a luxurious life, which implies that he received commissions over and above his salary.
Al Rajaan, 71, who served the Kuwaiti national pension fund for 30 years, invested government funds and pension benefits from assets valued at $70 billion. He fled to Britain in 2015. The Kuwaiti government sought his extradition in 2017.
The lawsuit against Al Rajaan indicates that he had seized hundreds of millions of dollars since he took office in 1984.
The Times reported that Al Rajaan also bought three homes for his two daughters in West Century Drive and Beverly Hills, in addition to an apartment at St Moritz in Switzerland for five million pounds (Dh22.67 million).
Al Rajaan’s lawyers claimed that he misplaced the gems he had bought for $2.5 million, as shown by the purchase bills.
Spending $300 million
Al Rajaan — through his lawyer, Mishkon de Ria — offered details of the remaining assets of $ 183 million, noting that the difference in spending accounts amounted to $330 million, and this caused the court to question whether it was possible for Al Rajaan, his wife and his four children to spend more than $300 million in 30 years.
Al Rajaan’s lawyers claimed that what he had spent “conservatively” was between $210 and $214 million over 30 years. This prompted the judge to ask what happened to the balance amount of $120 million dollars? Did the money of Kuwaitis, ebezzled by Fahad Al Rajaan, simply evaporate, he questioned?