Ex-CEO of UAE’s Drake and Scull denies wrongdoing, warns of legal action

Reports earlier this week claimed Khaldoun Al Tabari and his daughter owned the company up to Dhs1bn

The former CEO of UAE construction company Drake and Scull International (DSI) has denied reports that he and family owe the company any money, and warned of legal action against those spreading “unfounded allegations”.

A report by Bloomberg earlier this week claimed Khaldoun Al Tabari and his daughter owned the company up to Dhs1bn ($272.3m).

Read more: Former CEO of UAE contractor Drake and Scull said to owe firm Dhs1bn

DSI also later issued a bourse statement confirming the “existence of material financial violations from the previous management”.

It said the violations are currently under investigation by UAE authorities.

However, in a statement, Tabari said: “I refute in the strongest terms any suggestion that I or my daughter owe DSI any money at all, let alone the huge sums mentioned by some media outlets, and any suggestion that the previous management of DSI was guilty of any wrongdoing, impropriety, negligence or incompetence.”

He also “categorically denied” that any claims were made against him.

“No such claims have been made, nor am I aware of the nature of any alleged “violations”. I was given no opportunity to respond to the supposed internal investigation by DSI,” he said.

“I also challenge the statement made by DSI to the Dubai Financial Market regarding violations under ‘the previous management’. No such allegations have been put to me.”

Tabari, who founded DSI over 20 years ago, led the company’s listing on the DFM in 2009. He resigned from his post as CEO in 2016 “for personal reasons” and also sold his stake in the company.

“As founding shareholder, director and CEO, during my tenure at DSI, I have fully abided by and ensured that the company upheld the highest standards of corporate governance outlined by the UAE’s Securities & Commodities Authority and the Dubai Financial Market on which the company is listed,” he said in the statement.

“All financial dealings of the company are audited by renowned audit firms such as Ernst & Young and PwC, which are in turn approved by the board. In this context, it comes as a surprise that such baseless allegations are raised now, nearly two years after I have stepped down from my position,” he added.

Tabari also warned that he would initiate libel claims against any “unfounded news reports based on any such falsehoods as these could cause irreparable reputational damage to me and my daughter”.

He added: “Any attempt to discredit or defame us will be taken seriously and is likely to have legal consequences”.

DSI, which has been been facing losses since 2015, has seen its share prices drop about 70 per cent this year, the most among companies listed in Dubai.

It announced last week that chief financial officer Feras Khalthoum had been appointed as the chief restructuring officer, a newly created post at the company.