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Dubai regulator upholds $135.6 million fine on Abraaj founder and former CEO [Jan 3, 2023]


Dubai’s financial regulator has upheld its 2022 $135.6 million fine on collapsed private equity firm Abraaj Group's founder and former CEO Arif Naqvi "for his serious failings" in respect of the company.

Dubai-based Abraaj was the largest buyout fund in the Middle East and North Africa until it collapsed in 2018 after investors raised concerns about the management of its $1 billion healthcare fund.

The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), the emirate’s financial regulator, on January 27 imposed a ruling which banned Naqvi from the emirate's financial centre and included a $135 million fine.

Naqvi disputed the findings and presented his case for review by the Financial Markets Tribunal (FMT), an independent appeal tribunal.

Naqvi could not immediately be reached for comment.

The DFSA said at the time that the financial penalty will be stayed pending the decision of the FMT, while the ban on activities at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) will remain enforced.


With never-before seen personal video diaries from businessman Arif Naqvi, alongside interviews with some of his powerful friends, former colleagues, and critics, the film tells the extraordinary rise and fall of Naqvi’s $14-billion private equity firm Abraaj.

Businessman Arif Naqvi was a friend of prime ministers and billionaires. Through Abraaj – backed by the UK and US governments, and Bill Gates – he made investments delivering healthcare to some of the world’s poorest places. Then it all went wrong.

Investors became suspicious their millions were being misused and Abraaj collapsed into liquidation.

Naqvi was arrested and detained in Wandsworth prison, charged by the US Department of Justice with securities fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy.

He received the largest bail ever set in the UK, £15 million, and has now spent almost three years under house arrest awaiting extradition, maintaining his innocence.

Was he motivated by greed or to do good?


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