It took almost 16 years to build Abraaj Group into one of the most influential emerging-market investors and the Middle East’s biggest private equity dealmaker. The Dubai-based firm’s dramatic collapse took just four months. Suitors are now circling the company’s funds as liquidators seek to settle about $1 billion in debt.
The problems for the buyout firm and its founder, Arif Naqvi, began in February with allegations that money in the company’s health fund had been misused. Naqvi and the company have denied wrongdoing and blamed unforeseen political and regulatory hurdles for a delay in deploying the money. Kuwait’s Public Institution for Social Security and a fund linked to Sharjah-based Crescent Group’s Hamid Jafar filed a petition in the Cayman Islands to liquidate the company after Abraaj defaulted on loans.