The Malta Independent 3 August 2020, Monday

Maltese citizenship holder arrested in New York on fraud charges – report

Jeremy Micallef Monday, 29 April 2019, 08:45 Last update: about 2 years ago

Maltese citizenship holder Mustafa Abdel-Wadood, former Abraaj Group managing partner, has been arrested in Ney York on charges relating to fraud for allegedly misappropriating millions of dollars at the aforementioned company, according to a report from the Georgetown university publishing outlet The Hoya. The newspaper describes the Group as the largest private equity firm in the Middle East, and states that Mustafa Abdel-Wadood pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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The Hoya states that Mustafa Abdel-Wadood is an Egyptian national with dual citizenship in Malta. It is understood that his name does not appear on a published list of individuals who obtained a Maltese passport, which could potentially mean that he obtained it quite recently.

Abdel-Wadood appeared at the Manhattan hearing and pleaded not guilty to securities fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy charges, Reuters reports.

Mustafa Abdel-Wadood was arrested at a New York hotel, Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrea Griswold said at a hearing in Manhattan federal court on April 11, Reuters added.

Abdel-Wadood is an Egyptian national who along with his two former co-workers, Arif Naqvi and Sev Vettivetpillai, are facing the fraud charges in the USA, the Hoya report reads.

According to his indictment, a health fund within the company overvalued the company’s investments by more than half a billion dollars.

The Growth Markets Health Fund was worth $1 billion before the private equity fund’s collapse, and it invested in healthcare in developing economics worldwide, The Hoya states.

Having spent approximately 12 years with them, and having joined the firm in June 2006, the report read, it was around the time of his departure in March 2018 that rumours circulated about Abraaj’s alleged mismanagement.

According to the The Hoya report, The U.S. case against Abdel-Wadood includes “millions” of documents, recorded calls and messages.

The Growth Markets Health Fund also raised money for philanthropic organizations.

The New York Times reported that Abraaj’s founder Naqvi was arrested in Heathrow Airport, London, on April 10th, and was expected to appear in front of court to hear the case to extradite him to the U.S.

The Abraaj Group was founded in 2002, and held a respected position in global development. The firm has since become insolvent and now owes creditors over $1 billion, according to Bloomberg.

 

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