Dubai regulator in contact with US SEC about Abraaj case

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DUBAI, April 15 (Reuters) - Dubai's financial services regulator said on Monday that it was in touch with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission about the latest case involving collapsed private equity firm Abraaj.

The statement came after Abraaj founder Arif Naqvi and a former Abraaj executive were arrested last week on U.S. charges that they defrauded investors, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

"The DFSA can confirm it is communicating with the SEC, with whom it has a long-standing mutual assistance relationship, and other relevant local and overseas authorities on this matter," the Dubai regulator said in its statement.

It said on Monday that the probe was ongoing.

The DFSA said it was aware of the two arrests on U.S. charges last week.

Abraaj had been the largest buyout fund in the Middle East and North Africa until it collapsed last year in the aftermath of a row with investors, including the Gates Foundation, over a $1 billion healthcare fund.

Abraaj, filed for provisional liquidation in the Cayman Islands in June last year. Abraaj Capital Limited is the only entity within the Abraaj group that comes under the sole regulation of the DFSA, which said it has taken appropriate action to protect investors.

"Where appropriate, it (DFSA) has the power to impose administrative sanctions, but does not have a criminal jurisdiction, therefore it does not lay charges or make arrests," the DFSA said in its statement.

Last August the DFSA stopped Abraaj Capital Ltd from taking on new business or moving money to Abraaj Investment Management as part of an investigation into the group.

"The DFSA's investigation into Abraaj Capital Limited and other relevant companies and persons involved in the Abraaj Group is ongoing," the DSFA statement added.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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