x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Former group chief executive of DIB arrested

The arrest is in connection with an inquiry into alleged corruption at DIB's property development affiliate, Deyaar.

DUBAI // Authorities in Dubai have arrested Saad Abdul Razak, the former group chief executive of Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB), in connection with an inquiry into alleged corruption and financial misappropriation at the bank's property development affiliate, Deyaar. His arrest was confirmed today by the law firm Habib al Mulla & Co, based in Dubai, which is representing him. Mr Abdul Razak is the latest person to be held in the continuing investigation into alleged fraud in Dubai's property and financial markets. A lawyer at the legal firm would not say when Mr Abdul Razak was arrested or whether any charges had been laid. Mr Abdul Razak left DIB in October last year to join the Dubai government-owned investment holding firm Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD) as the managing director of strategy, privatisation, diversification and special projects. ICD declined to comment on the arrest. According to the Zawya Dow Jones news wire service, which first reported the arrest, Mr Abdul Razak resigned from his position at ICD last week. He joins the growing list of high-profile arrests in various listed firms, including Adel al Shirawi, the former chief executive of the mortgage lender Tamweel, the company's deputy chief executive Abdullah Nasser Abdullah and Feras Kalthoum, the former head of finance. Mr Abdul Razak is on the board of directors of Deyaar, the telecom operator du, the state-owned Dubai World and Tamweel, according to ABQ Zawya, a Middle East business information company. Dubai authorities have already arrested four suspects in the Deyaar inquiry. Zack Shahin, the former chief executive at Deyaar, was the first to be arrested, followed by: Ganesan Krishna Kumar, the managing director of the advertising agency Masterbrand; Charbel Boutros, a sales executive at Deyaar; and Jose Mebar, a senior director at the construction consultancy firm Arex, which has worked on Deyaar projects. None of those detained in the Deyaar investigation have been formally charged. Dubai authorities have extended Mr Shahin's detention several times since it was revealed in April that he was being held. Dubai has created a task force to investigate alleged corruption in the emirate's financial institutions. According to Major Gen Khamis Mattar al Mazina, the deputy commander-in-chief of Dubai Police, "more arrests could be made". "We are the first country in the Gulf and the Middle East to have carried out these types of operations," he told The National last month. In August, Dubai's public prosecutor issued a statement through the media office of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, declaring: "Fighting corruption is at the top of the [Dubai] Government's priorities." The statement was the first formal acknowledgement that Dubai authorities are committed to fighting white-collar financial improprieties. DIB, the largest Islamic lender in the country, was the second to come under the microscope when it confirmed in June that one of its former vice presidents was being investigated on fraud and bribery charges. There have been several arrests in the DIB investigation. Tamweel was the third listed entity to shake the market when the firm confirmed that Mr Shirawi was the subject of a police investigation. Nakheel, the government-controlled property developer, has also said that one former and one current executive have been questioned in the investigations. Sama Dubai, a part of the government-owned Dubai Holding, has also come under the microscope and four of its executives were detained, including Abdulsalam al Marri, the chief executive of the firm's Lagoons Project. Shares in the listed firms have taken a battering since allegations of financial irregularities were made public. Tamweel shares closed today at Dh2.44, falling 9.96 per cent. The company has dropped 71 per cent since its peak of Dh8.55 in June. Deyaar also closed 8.3 per cent down yesterday at Dh1.21, dropping 58.13 per cent since the beginning of the year. DIB shed 7.8 per cent of its value, closing at Dh4.94. It is down 53 per cent since June when the arrest of its former top executive was reported. shafez@thenational.ae skhan@thenational.ae