Middle East

Dubai regulator fines former Abraaj finance chief $1.7 million

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DUBAI, July 14 (Reuters) - A Dubai regulator has fined the former chief financial officer of collapsed Dubai-based private equity company Abraaj Group and banned him from providing financial services in Dubai's international financial centre DIFC.

The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) imposed a fine of $1.7 million on Ashish Dave, it said in a statement, citing his involvement in deception, unauthorised activity and compliance breaches.

Dave, who could not immediately be reached for comment, was Abraaj Group CFO from 2008 to 2013 and then again between 2017 and 2018.

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DFSA said he was involved in unauthorised financial services activity in and from DIFC carried out by Abraaj's investment management business, which it said actively misled and deceived investors in Abraaj funds.

It said he also took actions to report falsely that private equity Abraaj Capital was maintaining adequate capital resources.

"Mr Dave was aware that approximately $200 million was taken from the Abraaj Growth Markets Healthcare Fund (AGHF) and used for the Abraaj Group’s working capital or other investment commitments," the DFSA said.

"Mr Dave then proposed, orchestrated, and executed actions to deceive auditors and investors as to the actual cash balance in AGHF’s bank accounts by temporarily borrowing monies for the purpose of producing misleading bank balance confirmations and misleading financial statements," it said.

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

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Reporting by Davide Barbuscia; editing by Barbara Lewis

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