A public prosecutor in the United Arab Emirates has accepted a criminal complaint against the founder of Abraaj for issuing a cheque without sufficient funds, reported Financial Times.
Arif Naqvi could face a custodial sentence in the UAE if he does not settle the debt, a commonplace move in expatriate cases relating to bouncing cheques, which remains a criminal offence in the UAE.
A judge in Sharjah is scheduled on Thursday to rule on whether Naqvi and his colleague Muhammad Rafique Lakhani issued the cheque without the necessary funds, according to a prosecution clerk and copies of court documents, Financial Times reported.
The hearing is a further twist in the unravelling of Abraaj, the embattled firm that says it has returned $6.5 billion to investors over 16 years, but has been reeling for months over investor complaints that it mishandled their funds.
Loan defaults have since forced Abraaj to file for provisional liquidation, using the Cayman courts to implement a restructuring plan for $1billion in debts.
The bounced cheque was used as partial security for loans estimated at $300 million made to Abraaj by Hamid Jafar, founder of Sharjah’s Crescent Group, said one person with knowledge of the case.
“Naqvi is now wanted on criminal charges in the UAE and is refusing to come back and answer to them, without this loan, Abraaj would have collapsed six months ago,” reported the Financial Times.
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