Gunshot killed Kuwaiti financier

UPDATE 3: Hazem Al-Braikan is believed to have committed suicide following fraud suit by US authorities.
By Rania El Gamal
Sun 26 Jul 2009 03:27 PM

A brash Kuwaiti financier facing a fraud suit by US authorities was found dead on Sunday in an apparent suicide that has sent shockwaves through the Gulf Arab financial sector.A security source told Reuters that Hazem Al-Braikan appeared to have died from a single gunshot wound to the side of the head, while a policeman standing outside Braikan's house said the well-connected financier, 37, had shot himself.

The source told Reuters the Ministry of Interior's operations centre received a call about a shooting and found a dead man at the scene, whom they identified as Hazem Khaled Al-Braikan. A second source confirmed the death to Reuters.

Al-Braikan was the CEO of Al Raya Investment, which is 10 percent owned by Citigroup Inc.

"It's very sad news. This crisis has seen a lot of people in the Gulf and across the world fall from grace, and each person is different in terms of their ability to handle pressure," said Mohammed Yasin, chief executive of Shuaa Securities, in Dubai.

Police were at Al-Braikan's house in the Kuwait City district of al-Rawda, where the body was still inside at 11.22 GMT.

On Thursday, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sued Al-Braikan, and entities linked to him, saying they had improperly earned millions of dollars from trades in Harman International Industries Inc and Textron Inc.

Other defendants in the SEC suit include United Gulf Bank and KIPCO Asset Management Co (KAMCO). Both are part of the Kuwait Projects Co (KIPCO) group.

All the firms have denied the allegations.

KIPCO is affiliated with senior members of Kuwait's ruling al-Sabah family and is the biggest investment firm by assets in Kuwait.

KAMCO and United Gulf Bank said on Friday they made no gain from trading in the shares of Harman and Textron.

In papers filed in Manhattan federal court last week, the SEC said Al-Braikan and entities linked to him earned more than $5m from trades in the two US firms.

The SEC said it obtained an emergency court order freezing the trading profits in US accounts held by Al-Braikan and the other firms. (Reuters)

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