Former UAE investment boss accused of embezzling $1.5bn

#Business

Swiss national is likely to face new charges and has already been convicted in the UAE for corruption and fraud

Khater Massaad at Santiago Bernabey stadium, Madrid in March 2012 while serving as a representative of the government of Ras al-Khaimah (AFP)
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Monday 1 August 2016 19:38 UTC
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The former head of the investment authority in the emirate of Ras al-Khaimah is to face further criminal charges relating to embezzlement and mismanagement of $1.5bn, the official UAE news agency reported on Monday.

Khater Massaad, who is head of Star Industrial Holding, has already been tried and convicted by the United Arab Emirates criminal courts for corruption and fraud. WAM reported that he has concluded negotiations with the government of Ras al-Khaimah.

The agency said that Massaad, who has passports for Switzerland and Lebanon among others, “embezzled and misappropriated government funds during his tenure as the head of the RAK Investment Authority, known as RAKIA" and that he "fled the country as soon as questions arose concerning his business activities in 2012."

Massaad, WAM added, continues to run businesses in several countries, “notwithstanding clear and ever-growing evidence of his many failed investments as CEO of RAKIA, in which assets were stripped for his own gain and that of his friends and family.”

There was no immediate comment from Star International Holding on Monday. In 2012 Massad told Arabian Business that allegations of embezzlement were "absolutely unfounded, untrue and unacceptable."

A profile of Massaad on the website of Star Industrial Holding says that his career in the Middle East began in the early 80s “when he commenced geophysical investigations for clay deposits, dams and water in the GCC and Levant countries.”

It adds that in 2003 he was “appointed advisor to the Crown Prince and deputy ruler of the Emirate of Ras al-Khaimah, His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr al-Qasimi”, before becoming CEO of the RAK Investment Authority in 2005. “RAKIA has attracted more than $1bn in industrial investments into Ras al-Khaimah,” the website states. However, the current RAKIA website lists Ramy Jallad as its CEO.