Lawyers for Abraaj Group’s Arif Naqvi, the founder of what was once the Middle East’s largest private equity fund, said there was “fresh evidence” that could overturn the UK’s decision to extradite him to the US to face fraud and racketeering charges.
There is new evidence on “serious deterioration in the detention facility, where he would be housed in the US,” his lawyer argued in a London court on Tuesday. Naqvi is also at risk of suicide if held in those conditions, he said.
Naqvi is seeking the UK High Court’s permission to appeal a 2021 court decision that said he should be sent to the US to face criminal charges. He is accused by prosecutors of hiding a liquidity crisis at his firm, while siphoning off hundreds of millions of dollars for his family.
Lawyers for the US countered that any changes to his detention would not materially alter the his conditions of stay. Naqvi is attempting to raise new arguments “smuggled under the guise of updating evidence, they said.
Pakistan-born Naqvi has consistently denied the charges. His lawyer said at an earlier hearing that he has an “unshakable conviction is that he is entirely innocent of these allegations.
Founded in 2002 Abraaj grew to become one of the world’s most influential emerging-market investors but collapsed after investigations into alleged mismanagement of money in its health-care fund. Naqvi himself was forced to surrender control after it was revealed that the firm’s main revenues hadn’t covered operating costs for years.
By the time of its collapse in 2018, Abraaj owed creditors over $1 billion. He faces as many as 30 years in prison in the US.
Lawyers representing Naqvi didn’t immediately respond to a request for further comment.
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