Qatar has warned Singaporean authorities of an investment firm which has moved its headquarters to the Asian country days after Qatari authorities raided its Doha offices and arrested the CEO over false claims the firm was licenced to offer investment advice.
Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority (QFCRA) last week warned investors against dealing with investment firm Portable Fund, stating the company had falsely claiming it was licensed by the Qatar Financial Centre Authority (QFCA).
“The QFCRA took swift action after becoming aware that Portable was falsely claiming to be regulated by the QFCRA and licensed by the QFCA. In order to protect consumers and investors the QFCRA issued an alert and directed the company to remove these false claims from its website, as well as the false claim that it operated from Tornado Tower in Doha,” a QFCRA spokesperson said in a statement.
Christina Miller, a Portable Fund customer service official, told Arabian Business the fund was in the process of renewing its licence when its offices were raided and its CEO arrested by police: “We were providing service to the investors from all over the world from our Qatar office.
“Our license was expired recently and we were having issues with QFC to renew the license... But suddenly police came and asked to shut down the office and arrested the CEO Alex Russman.”
Miller confirmed Russman had been released from custody and was now in Singapore setting up the company’s new office. A QFCRA spokesperson confirmed it “has taken steps to alert Singaporean regulatory authorities to the claims of Portable Fund.”
“In relation to any allegation of fraud or criminal enquiry in Qatar, that is a matter for the law enforcement authorities... The QFCRA repeats its warning to investors and consumers to avoid any dealings with Portable,” the statement added.
The QFCRA also dismissed Portable's claim it was renewing its license: “I can categorically confirm that Portable
Fund has never been licensed by the QFCA. Portable Fund has never been licensed
by the QFCA, so there is no possible way they could have been in the process of
renewing that license. This claim is absolutely untrue".
According to its website, Portable Fund was established in Qatar in April 2007, has paid up capital of $50m and, as of May 2013, managed more than $200m worth of funds.
It claimed it had investors from all over the world and was pursuing opportunities in the Middle East, Africa, Turkey, South Asia and South-East Asia. It states it’s new office is located at 21 Maxwell Road, 069113 Singapore.
Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.