Arif Naqvi

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Arif Masood Naqvi
Arif Masood Naqvi

(1960-07-13) 13 July 1960 (age 61)
Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan
Saint Kitts and Nevis[1]
Alma materKarachi Grammar School
London School of Economics

Arif Masood Naqvi (born 13 July 1960 in Karachi, Pakistan) is a Pakistani businessman who was the founder and chief executive of the Dubai-based private equity firm, The Abraaj Group and Aman Foundation. The Abraaj Group was founded in 2002 and operated in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Middle East, Turkey and Central Asia.

In 2018, he was accused by investors of misappropriating funds, leading to the provisional liquidation of The Abraaj Group.[2] The company also came under investigation by Dubai regulators.[3][4] On 5 April 2019, he was arrested by authorities in the UK on fraud charges put forth by US after allegedly misappropriating $230 million from a healthcare fund.[5] Later, he was sentenced to three years imprisonment in absentia in the United Arab Emirates on charges of financial fraud.[6] In January 2021, a London Court ruled that the 60-year-old can be extradited from the UK to the US. If convicted of his charges he may be sentenced up to 300 years in prison.[7]

Early life and education[]

Naqvi was born in a business family. His father was a small plastics manufacturing company owner.[8] He completed his early education from Karachi Grammar School and graduated from London School of Economics.[9]


Arif Naqvi began his career with Arthur Andersen in London and American Express in Karachi. In the early 1990s, he joined the Olayan Group in Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom's largest trading company. In 1994 he started an investment firm in Dubai called Cupola with $50,000 of his own savings.[10] In 1999, Naqvi purchased Inchcape Middle East, for $102 million, with $4.1 million in equity, making it the MENA region's first leveraged buyout.[11] Naqvi then sold off pieces of the company for a total of $173 million.[12]

In 2002, Naqvi founded Abraaj Capital, and in 2012 the company merged with Aureos Capital to become The Abraaj Group. As of March 2018, Arif Naqvi has stepped down as CEO of The Abraaj Group, as the Company has become the subject of multiple investigations regarding its fund management practices.[13]

Naqvi is known as a collector of art and for establishing a collection of Middle Eastern art.[14] In 2018, art owned by Naqvi was sold through Christie's for £2 million.[15]

In April 2019, Naqvi was arrested in the U.K. and faces extradition to the U.S. on charges of inflating company assets and fund misappropriation. However, in early May 2019, he was granted bail by a London court, for a record sum of 15 million British pounds (US$20 million) but placed under what was effectively house arrest.[16]

In July 2019, two Abraaj entities were fined US$315 million by the Dubai Financial Services Authority. [17] [18]

During November 2021 Judge Philippa Whipple of the UK High Court adjourned the matter of extradition of Abraaj founder, Arif Naqvi, until a similar point of law was resolved in another high-profile extradition case - that of Nirav Modi, an Indian diamond tycoon[19].


In 2008, Naqvi and his family established the Aman Foundation, a local, not-for-profit trust in Pakistan, focusing on health, nutrition and education.[20]


In 2007, Naqvi was granted the Sitara-i-Imtiaz by the Government of Pakistan, in recognition of his outstanding service in the field of public services.[21] In 2015, Naqvi was awarded with the BNP Paribas Grand Prix for Individual Philanthropy by BNP Paribas.[22]

Naqvi is also a Founding Commissioner of the Business & Sustainable Development Commission (BSDC), alongside Paul Polman and Mo Ibrahim Commissioners | Business & Sustainable Development Commission


  1. ^ "Former Abraaj CEO Denied Bail After Being Called Flight Risk". Bloomberg. 26 April 2019. Retrieved 24 July 2019.
  2. ^ Alloway, Tracy; Nair, Dinesh; Martin, Matthew (14 June 2018). "The Downfall of Dubai's Star Investor". Bloomberg Businessweek.
  3. ^ Arnold, Tom; Cornwell, Alexander (4 July 2018). "Dubai regulator probes Abraaj over alleged mismanagement". Reuters. Retrieved 8 May 2019.
  4. ^ Warde, Ibrahim (November 2019). "A firm too good to be true, Billion-dollar debts, family pay-offs". Le Monde diplomatique.
  5. ^ "Abraaj executives facing criminal charges in US | PitchBook".
  6. ^ "Abraaj founder sentenced to 3 years in prison by UAE court: report". DAWN.COM. August 9, 2019.
  7. ^ "UK court allows Abraaj founder Arif Naqvi's extradition to US". The News International, Pakistan. 28 January 2021. Retrieved 17 August 2021.
  8. ^ Tirmizi, Farooq (November 5, 2018). "The heir to Agha Hasan Abedi". Profit by Pakistan Today.
  9. ^ "Arif Naqvi".
  10. ^ MacBride, Elizabeth (23 November 2015). "The Story Behind Abraaj Group's Stunning Rise In Global Private Equity". Forbes. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  11. ^ Hamdan, Sara (27 April 2011). "Mideast Private Equity Pioneer Looks Beyond the Unrest". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  12. ^ Tirmizi, Farooq (5 November 2018). "The heir to Agha Hasan Abedi". Pakistan Today. Retrieved 8 May 2019.
  13. ^ Kane, Frank (31 May 2018). "Dubai should get a grip on Abraaj before somebody else does". Arab News. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
  14. ^ Gleadell, Colin (2018-10-30). "What the sale of one man's multi-million dollar collection tells us about Middle Eastern art today". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2019-10-19.
  15. ^ Gleadell, Colin (2019-10-15). "Twenty pieces of art belonging to controversial banker for sale at up to £1.6m". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2019-10-19.
  16. ^ Wiggins, Kaye (3 May 2019). "Former CEO Gets Record $20 Million Bail". Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ Shah, Murtaza Ali (November 13, 2021). "UK judge delays Arif Naqvi's extradition to US". The News International (Pakistan). Retrieved December 11, 2021.
  20. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-07. Retrieved 2016-02-28.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  21. ^ "President of Pakistan confers Sitara-e-Quaid-e-Azam on Al Abbar". Emirates News Agency. March 23, 2007. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  22. ^ Bladd, Joanne (29 June 2015). "Dubai entrepreneur Arif Naqvi wins philanthropy award". PhilanthropyAge.


  • Simon Clark and Will Louch, The Key Man: The True Story of How the Global Elite Was Duped by a Capitalist Fairy, Harper Business (2021) ISBN 978-0-06-299621-3 - The story of Pakistani ex-CEO, Arif Naqvi
  • Brian Brivati, Icarus: The Life and Death of the Abraaj Group, Biteback Publishing (2021), ISBN 978-1785907180
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