Istithmar suspends Al-Shirawi, Kalthoum

UPDATE 2: Ex-Tamweel execs suspended, news sends shares in mortgage lender down 10%.
Istithmar suspends Al-Shirawi, Kalthoum
By Tom Arnold and Dylan Bowman
Sun 14 Sep 2008 01:09 PM

Istithmar World has suspended two senior executives under investigation for alleged financial wrongdoing while working for Tamweel, sending the DubaiIslamic mortgage lender's share tumbling 10 percent.

The investment vehicle, part of state-owned conglomerate Dubai World, said on Sunday vice chairman Adel Al-Shirawi and chief financial officer (CFO) Feras Kalthoum have both been suspended and Al-Shirawi has lost his seat on Istithmar's board "in light of the ongoing investigations".

"Istithmar World confirms that Adel Al-Shirawi has been suspended from the position of vice chairman... and Feras Kalthoum has been suspended from the position of chief financial officer...," the company said in a statement.

"Further, Adel Al-Shirawi is no longer serving as a board director...”

Istithmar World is the largest shareholder in Tamweel, with a 21.6 percent stake.

Tamweel's shares plummeted 10.04 percent to 4.21 dirhams per share on Sunday, falling to their lowest level in almost a year.

Tamweel shares have fallen more than 30 percent since the investigation was made public on Aug. 14.

Ex-CEO Al-Shirawi and former head of investments Feras Kalthoum were both arrested last month over alleged financial wrongdoings while at Tamweel. Istithmar World said in at the time it was not under any investigation.

The mortgage provider said last week deputy CEO Abdulla Nasser Abdulla had become the third executive to work for the company arrested in connection with the Dubai government's ongoing corruption probe.

Tamweel said Abdulla had been detained for questioning, but that it could not comment on the ongoing investigation.

The investigation is one of a series by Dubai police into alleged financial irregularities involving companies based in the Gulf Arab trade and tourism hub, particularly in the real estate sector.

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