UAE court adjourns bounced cheque case against Abraaj founder

A judgement is scheduled for later this month



A UAE court will issue a judgment later this month against the founder of private equity firm Abraaj, Arif Naqvi, and another executive for issuing a cheque without sufficient funds, a lawyer involved in the case said on Tuesday.

This comes as Dubai-based Abraaj’s provisional liquidators seek to sell its investment management business.

The criminal case in the emirate of Sharjah relates to a cheque for Dhs798m ($217.3m), signed by Naqvi and a fellow executive and written to Hamid Jafar, another founding shareholder in Abraaj.

Khalid al-Bannay, from Al Tamimi & Co, the law firm representing Jafar, said the court on Tuesday reserved the case for judgement on August 26.

Naqvi’s lawyer Habib Al Mulla, the chairman of Habib Al Mulla Baker McKenzie, said the court’s decision was expected, according to Reuters.

“Negotiations are still ongoing between the parties and hopefully they will reach a settlement before the next hearing,” he was quoted as saying.

Read: New criminal case filed against Abraaj’s Naqvi holds ‘no ground’, says lawyer

Naqvi is the single biggest shareholder of Abraaj Holdings, which owns the investment management business.

Abraaj filed for provisional liquidation in the Cayman Islands in June after months of turmoil related to a row with investors over the use of their money in a $1bn healthcare fund.

Potential buyers are also being sought for Abraaj’s investment management business, with a partnership of Kuwait’s Agility and United States-based Centerbridge Partners among the interested bidders, Reuters reported on Monday, citing a finance source. Others include York Capital Management and Abu Dhabi Financial Group.

Low-cost airline Air Arabia said on Sunday that Naqvi had resigned from its board after admitting in June that it had an exposure of $336m to Abraaj.

Read: Abraaj founder Arif Naqvi resigns from Air Arabia’s board

With contributions from Reuters