x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Dubai investor in Spanish football club denies 'scam' involvement

The Dubai-based investor in a Spanish football club has denied any involvement in an alleged scam that led to seven arrests in Spain yesterday.

Kaiser Rafiq, Partner & MD of Royal Emirates Group talking to media during the press conference of Spanish Football club Getafe.
Kaiser Rafiq, Partner & MD of Royal Emirates Group talking to media during the press conference of Spanish Football club Getafe.

The Dubai-based investor in a Spanish football club has denied any involvement in an alleged scam that led to seven arrests in Spain yesterday.

The Mossos d'Esquadra police in Catalonia said Getafe FC was the victim of a scam where "investors" posed as Arab sheikhs and preyed on financially strapped companies. As many as 70 cases have been reported.

Police arrested six Spaniards and one Dominican, two of whom were charged with fraud.

Police said Getafe was a target and two cheques paid to buy the club failed to clear. The buyer of the club, Royal Emirates Group, said it knew nothing about a scam.

Speaking from Dubai, Kaiser Rafiq, the managing director and partner of Royal Emirates Group, said police had not contacted him.

"No cheques bounced," Mr Rafiq said. "It is absolutely the wrong statement if it was given by the police. I can say very clearly this is not true."

Royal Emirates Group held a lavish press conference at the Burj Al Arab in April last year with the president of Getafe FC, Angel Torres, to announce the purchase of the club. The price was to be between €70 million (Dh320.6m) and €90m.

Mr Rafiq said he had spoken with Mr Torres yesterday.

"He is himself shocked as to what's going on and we are trying to prepare a joint press release. We don't know who they [the arrested men] are," he said.

"They [police] are not asking me or Torres who could have done something. They are not in contact with Torres or me, and we are trying to contact them and asking for an official statement from the police.

"We only heard through the media. At this point, we are trying to get to the bottom of it."

Police allege a Brazilian waiter was paid to act as a sheikh, dressed in a kandura.

A spokeswoman at Mossos d'Esquadra said yesterday morning that Getafe FC was contacted, but told the police the club did not want to take part in an investigation.

Mr Rafiq said he contacted the Spanish Embassy in the UAE and expected a detailed response on Thursday.

eharnan@thenational.ae