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Mon 15 Apr 2019 09:05 AM

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Former Abraaj exec held in same New York jail as Mexico's 'El Chapo' Guzman

Mustafa Abdel-Wadood was apprehended at a New York hotel last week

Former Abraaj exec held in same New York jail as Mexico's 'El Chapo' Guzman
(L-R) Mustafa Abdel-Wadood and Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman

Former Abraaj managing partner Mustafa Abdel-Wadood is being held in the same Manhattan jail that currently houses notorious Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, according to the US Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Abdel-Wadood was apprehended at a hotel in New York City, where he was reportedly travelling with his family to shop for colleges for his son. He, along with former chairman Arif Naqvi, are currently facing US charges for allegedly defrauding investors.

According to an online directory of detainees on the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ website, Abdel-Wadood, 49, is currently behind bars at the Metropolitan Correction Center (MCC) in lower Manhattan, which primarily houses detainees facing federal charges in the Southern District of New York, as well as some charges in nearby Brooklyn.

Among the facility’s other prisoners is Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman - the former leader of Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel – who was brought to MCC after being extradited by Mexican authorities in January 2017. Through his lawyers, Guzman repeatedly complained about the austere conditions of ’10 South’, MCC’s high-security wing, saying that the conditions hindered his ability to adequately prepare for trial.

His detention at MCC also caused a brief public uproar, as the nearby Brooklyn Bridge was repeatedly closed by police while the cartel boss was transported to a federal court in Brooklyn.

Guantanamo of New York

Although he is not listed on the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ register of detainees, Guzman is reportedly still at MCC awaiting sentencing after being found guilty of 17 criminal charges including drug trafficking, money laundering and murder.

Previous inmates at MCC, which has been dubbed by various American media outlets as the ‘Guantanamo of New York’, have included Bernie Madoff, Gambino crime family boss John Gotti, Russian weapons trafficker Viktor Bout and convicted terrorists Omar Abdel-Rahman and Ramzi Yousef.

The 12-story building, which is situated near New York’s City Hall, is connected to the nearby federal court by a tunnel located 12-metres below street level.

In 2017, New York Attorney Joshua Dratel was quoted by the Los Angeles Times as saying the facility “is worse than Guantanamo.”

“It is about as soul-negating existence as there is in this country in the federal system,” he said.

Last week, Abdel-Wadood pleaded not guilty and is due back in court on April 18.

Arif Naqvi, Abraaj’s founder and ex-CEO, was arrested last Wednesday in the UK and is awaiting possible extradition to the US.

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