x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Al Boom owner faces arrest

The Dubai attorney general has ordered the arrest of the propety developer Abid al Boom after allegations of fraud.

Investors have been advised to register their names at Muraggabat police station in order to determine the size of funds invested with the accused.
Investors have been advised to register their names at Muraggabat police station in order to determine the size of funds invested with the accused.

DUBAI // The Dubai attorney general, Essam Eisa Humaidan, has ordered the arrest of an Emirati businessman, Abid al Boom, who owns Abid Al Boom Management and Development Properties, along with eight others after allegations of fraud from investors and depositors. Mr Humaidan also ordered the closure of the offices of Al Boom Holding and Abid Al Boom Management and Development Properties, the suspension of trading in shares owned by the accused and the freezing of all assets belonging to them, including any property and bank accounts, in order to secure investors' rights.

The lawyer general advised all investors with Al Boom's portfolio to register their names at Muraggabat police station in order to determine the size of the funds invested with the accused. He said the prosecution had received numerous complaints from depositors in the portfolio who claimed they had been swindled. "A lot has been said about this case in the press and media, but the public prosecution takes its decisions based on the available evidence gathered through its investigations," Mr Humaidan said.

"Based on the numerous complaints filed with the department by depositors, we investigated these claims and found that the accusations made have a basis in fact, which prompted the public prosecution to take action." An Arabic newspaper based in Dubai said a committee that investigated Al Boom concluded that it had collaborated with a number of foreigners to defraud investors, and that its portfolio was bogus.

The committee recommended that Mr Boom's properties be liquidated according to local rules, and in co-operation with the Dubai Public Prosecution and courts, in order to preserve the funds of depositors and investors, the newspaper reported. Mr Boom was not available for comment. In a statement to the media last week, Mr Boom said that he had committed no crime. "I didn't commit any crime or violate the laws. I resent the way in which my story was published in that Arabic newspaper... the headlines angered me and I got upset with the news style, which intentionally aimed at ruining my reputation in the market.

"I have respected the decisions of Dubai's lawyer general and committed to implementing the committee's measures... although until now I don't know how the committee was formed, or what its powers are!" he was reported as saying by the media. On its website, Al Boom Holdings described itself as "a joint venture between Abid Al Boom International Group of Companies & Establishments (Al Boom Group), which is involved in major real estate development and sales, and Castle International Holdings Limited (Allied Group) of Hong Kong, SAR, which is an international entity involved in project financing and management, commodity trading and acquisitions".

It said it had investment company licences in Sharjah and Dubai, and described its vision "to finance qualified projects through innovative and sophisticated underwriting that promotes ethical standards and compliance with international law". Its only project was listed as a mixed-use leisure and residential development located in Djibouti, in East Africa, comprising "world class five-star hotel resorts, 210 luxury residential villas located around a large lagoon feature and circular marina ringed by leisure facilities, residential apartment buildings, offices and a comprehensive retail mall", according to the website.

The website also laid out expansion plans for the company. It said Al Boom would buy an established commodity trading company in Singapore, with the help of a "veteran metal currency trader" based in Monaco. It said it planned to go public in January 2010, and was in the process of finalising a joint venture with an oil rig management company to buy three oil rigs and guarantee annual income of US$150 million (Dh551m).

It was also in the process of completing a mandate to build an oil refinery in Benin, West Africa, and in talks to finance three diamond mines in Sierra Leone and Democratic Republic of Congo, the website said. @Email:hbathish@thenational.ae