Oaktree Executive Wanted Over $264 Million May Avoid Extradition

  • Martin Graham faces extradition to UAE following warrant
  • Civil settlement may lead to dismissal of UAE extradition bid

A Oaktree Capital Group LLP executive in London wanted in the United Arab Emirates over a $264 million embezzlement dispute may avoid extradition, his lawyer said at a court hearing Monday.

A lawyer for Martin Graham -- a senior vice president at the world’s largest distressed-debt investor -- told a London court that a potential settlement related to the case may lead to the extradition request being withdrawn. The UAE issued a warrant after a local court sentenced the Briton last year in absentia to three years in prison, alleging he stole $264 million from engineering contractor Gulmar Offshore Oil Company.

Graham’s lawyer, Rachel Scott, told the court that settlement talks between Gulmar and shareholders including claimant Jean-Michel Tissier, who is behind the criminal complaint, may be resolved shortly and the warrant rescinded. It could also see the conviction overturned, she said.

Tissier "has secured conviction in absence for his own financial gain," and described her client’s actions as "wholly legitimate financial dealing," Scott said.

Tissier, a former director at Gulmar, claimed he is entitled to money recovered by the company from an arbitration award in relation to vessels that had been seized in Venezuela. Graham was overseeing Oaktree’s investment as a managing director at Gulmar.

Oaktree previously said the UAE conviction "lacks any factual basis" and the claims against Graham are "meritless." A spokesman declined to comment on Monday’s proceedings.

The extradition hearing is scheduled for October. For Graham to be extradited, the U.K.’s extradition treaty with the UAE requires a British court to find evidence of wrongdoing.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.