This Investor Was the Star of Dubai. Now It Can't Make Rent

(Bloomberg) -- Abraaj, once one of the most influential emerging-market investors, plans to vacate its headquarters in Dubai’s business hub after the embattled buyout firm failed to pay rent, people with the knowledge of the matter said.

Dubai International Financial Centre told Abraaj to vacate its main office in the financial freezone by the end of the month, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. The lease on one of the company’s offices has expired, one of the people said. Employees have been informed and Abraaj is looking for temporary office space, another person said.

Employees at Abraaj’s $1 billion health-care fund, which is being taken over by TPG, will continue to work from a separate office in the financial center, the people said. Abraaj, which is in the midst of a court-appointed restructuring, has about 50 people and liquidators working from its headquarters, one person said.

Dubai’s reputation as the Middle East’s premier financial hub has taken a blow following Abraaj’s collapse this year. The company has been based in the DIFC since 2006 and occupied two floors of a building in the district’s Gate Village. Abraaj, which once managed about $14 billion, grew along with Dubai’s desire to create a world-class financial center, until allegations of the misuse of money emerged in February.

‘Reviewing Premises’

The DIFC Authority, which manages the freezone, said it’s unable to comment on specific matters relating to clients. "We will continue to work with all parties to achieve the best outcomes for investors and the DIFC," according to an emailed statement. "This will naturally include reviewing premises requirements when leases expire or need to be reviewed.”

Deloitte LLP and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, which are now seeking to settle more than $1 billion in debts through asset sales, declined to comment.

At its peak, Abraaj oversaw funds from 18 offices in emerging markets spanning Latin America, Africa and Asia. Abraaj Capital is registered in the DIFC and regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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