May 3, 2019 / 6:08 PM / 21 days ago

Abraaj founder wins bail appeal in London

LONDON (Reuters) - Arif Naqvi, the Pakistani founder of collapsed private equity firm Abraaj Group, won a battle for bail in a London court on Friday, a British prosecutor said, ahead of his possible extradition to the United States on fraud charges.

FILE PHOTO: Arif Naqvi, Founder and Group Chief Executive of Abraaj Group attends the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, January 17, 2017. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich

The court dismissed an appeal against bail by the prosecution and Naqvi will be able to leave custody after meeting his bail conditions, which have been set at 15 million pounds ($19.72 million) and an additional surety of 650,000 pounds, a prosecution spokesman said in an email.

Naqvi is also required to surrender his Pakistani passport, will be under 24-hour curfew at an address given to the court and wear an electronic tag, the spokesman said.

A court official previously told Reuters that Naqvi’s extradition hearing will take place on May 24.

A former managing partner of Dubai-based Abraaj, Sev Vettivetpillai, was previously released on conditional bail to appear again at Westminster Magistrates Court on June 12, the court official said.

Under the U.S. charges, both men are accused of defrauding U.S. investors by inflating positions held by Abraaj in order to attract greater funds from them, causing them financial loss.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission alleges that Naqvi and his firm raised money for the Abraaj Growth Markets Health Fund, collecting more than $100 million (£77 million) over three years from U.S.-based charitable organisations and other U.S. investors, including the Bill &Melinda Gates Foundation.

Naqvi and Vettivetpillai were arrested in Britain last month.

Naqvi maintains his innocence, according to a statement released on Friday through a PR firm.

Vettivetpillai did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent via LinkedIn.

Reporting by Carolyn Cohn and Kirstin Ridley in London and Saeed Azhar in Dubai, editing by Louise Heavens

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