Abraaj founder Arif Naqvi slams WSJ report, denies corruption claims

Wall Street Journal reported that Naqvi offered $20 million to a Pakistani businessmen for cooperation in the sale of Abraaj's stake in Pakistan's K-Electric
Abraaj founder Arif Naqvi slams WSJ report, denies corruption claims
Abraaj founder Arif Naqvi (Photo: RODGER BOSCH/AFP/Getty Images)
By Bernd Debusmann Jr
Wed 17 Oct 2018 10:02 AM

Abraaj founder Arif Naqvi has denied media reports that he was involved in corruption surrounding the sale of the embattled private equity fund’s stake in Pakistan’s K-Electric and again denied any misuse or appropriation of Abraaj funds. 

A story published in the Wall Street Journal earlier this week reported that Naqvi offered a $20 million payment to a Pakistani businessman to secure the cooperation of then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the sale of Abraaj’s sale of its stake in K-Electric, which supplies electricity to Karachi and is also partly owned by the Pakistani government. 

In a statement sent to Arabian Business, Naqvi said that the allegations “are entirely false”. 

“They are premised on isolated extracts from illegally obtained documents that have been taken entirely out of context,” he said.

“It appears that unidentified individuals who are unfairly biased against me and Abraaj are seeking to undermine the sale of K-Electric, damage mine and Abraaj’s reputation and thereby prejudice the creditors of the Abraaj Group.” 

Naqvi added that he never “contemplated, directed, authorised or paid any bribes” during the K-Electric sale process, which he said “was and very much remains in the best interest of the country.” 

In his statement, Naqvi also said that he “neither misused nor misappropriated any Abraaj funds.” 

“There was nothing untoward about my requests for transfers or Abraaj Group funds to me or my family, or for my personal investments or obligations,” he said.

“In drawing down funds from Abraaj, I acted in accordance with the arrangements put in place by the Abraaj Group.” 

Naqvi also added that any drawdowns were “properly recorded and accounted for.” 

Lastly, Naqvi said that the use of monies from Abraaj’s healthcare fund for general corporate purposes was undertaken only after having “sought and received independent legal advice as to whether it was permissible.” 

All un-invested funds were “accounted for and returned to investors in the healthcare fund with interest as of 31 December 2017” he added. 

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