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Sun 26 Jul 2009 03:27 PM

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Gunshot killed Kuwaiti financier

UPDATE 3: Hazem Al-Braikan is believed to have committed suicide following fraud suit by US authorities.

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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John 11 years ago

The UAE media laws clearly don't give people the benefit of the doubt by insisting the word allegedly be used here and there to imply he someone hasn't been convicted. Your reporting seems to ignore this basic media tenet. It is up to a judge to determine guilt or innocence, so while one of your stories says it was alleged, this should be consistent throughout. The also allegedly shot himself, because a coroner or police surgeon is the one to decide how the guy died. All the same, this tragic tale is part of the unraveling image of Gulf financiers and should be a cautionary tale. Some might argue using the term "brash" to describe a Gulf financier might be tautology.

Serge 11 years ago

Goes to show that the SEC can move quickly if they want to!! Pity they did not take quicker action over Madhoff when they had been warned more that 10 years previously!!

T Crowe Semler 11 years ago

How sad that this young man would take his own life. Greed is a global epidemic. Once this compulsion take holds of the mind it becomes "addicted" and "self-absorbed". People who hold great resources are blinded by the need for more...Greed does not rest... it consume the mind. Material status and Ego's pride can create a treacherous path leading to Greed, one of the Seven Deadly Sins.

darren hufpfoty 11 years ago

It is best for the Gulf Financier types to play in their own backyard. Clearly, they are out of their league when expected to play by the rules.