Former Abraaj COO reaches settlement with Dubai’s DFSA
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Former Abraaj COO reaches settlement with Dubai’s DFSA

Former Abraaj COO reaches settlement with Dubai’s DFSA

Waqar Siddique has withdrawn his Financial Markets Tribunal review and will not contest the regulator’s findings

Former Abraaj COO reaches settlement with Dubai’s DFSA

Former Abraj Group COO Waqar Siddique has reached a settlement with the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA).

DFSA had published its decision notice against Waqar Siddique in January 2022 for “serious failings” in respect of the Abraaj Group. Siddique was fined $1.15m (Dhs4.22m) and prohibited and restricted from performing any function in or from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

Siddique had then referred the DFSA’s findings for review by the Financial Markets Tribunal (FMT). However, he withdrew his FMT reference on October 14, as a result of settlement with the DFSA and will therefore not contest the regulator’s findings as set out in the decision notice dated June 2021. The settlement included arrangements to secure payment to the DFSA, a statement said.

Siddique was a member of the Abraaj Group’s senior management team and was also an authorised individual as Abraaj Capital Limited’s (ACLD) licensed director. In those roles, he was knowingly involved in certain Abraaj Investment Management Limited (AIML) and Abraaj Capital Limited (ACLD) breaches.

Siddique was “knowingly involved in AIML misleading and deceiving investors over the use of their monies within funds managed by Abraaj, including by being a signatory to loan agreements used to produce misleading bank balance confirmations and misleading financial statements,” DFSA said.

Siddique was “knowingly involved in ACLD’s contraventions of not maintaining its capital requirements, as over a five-year period he authorised the majority of temporary cash transfers at quarterly reporting period ends”, the regulator added.

“It continues to be a priority of the DFSA to hold senior individuals to account,” said Ian Johnston, chief executive of the DFSA.

“We have pursued payment of the fine even though the individual and his assets are no longer in the UAE. This demonstrates the DFSA’s commitment to pursuing action against subjects and collecting the fines imposed on them, irrespective of their locations.”

Read: Dubai regulator issues Dhs497m fine on Abraaj Group founder Arif Naqvi

Abraaj Group was founded in 2002 by Arif Naqvi, and grew to become the largest private equity firm in the region, with an estimated $14bn in assets under management.

Read: Dubai regulator says Abraaj probe focused on senior management

Abraaj went into liquidation in 2018 following a process that began when investors including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation ordered a probe into the use of money from Abraaj’s healthcare fund.

Read: Abraaj ex-CEO’s alleged theft cost the firm $385m – liquidators

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