Buyout fund Abraaj founder can be released on $20m bail

Arif Naqvi, chief executive officer of Abraaj Capital Ltd., pauses during a Bloomberg Television interview in London, U.K. Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg

Arif Naqvi, the founder of buyout fund Abraaj Group, can be released on bail of 15 million pounds ($20 million) after a London judge dismissed prosecutors’ bid to keep him in custody while he fights extradition to the US.

Naqvi — who’s caught up in a US fraud probe — was granted bail by Judge Michael Supperstone on Friday. The bond amount is “the largest security ever ordered in the UK,” according to Naqvi’s filings for Friday’s hearing.

During his bail Naqvi, 58, must surrender his travel documents, wear an electronic tag and stay in his London home. Prosecutors said they feared he may flee to Pakistan rather than face U.S. fraud charges.

“I am not persuaded” that “there’s a real risk” that Naqvi will fail to surrender to authorities, “if appropriate conditions are imposed” on his bail, including the addition of sureties, judge Michael Supperstone said Friday.

Naqvi is one of several Abraaj officials caught up in a U.S. probe of what was the Middle East’s biggest private-equity fund. He is charged with inflating the value of the Dubai-based firm’s holdings and stealing hundreds of millions of dollars. He denies the accusations and says the idea he took money out for his own personal benefit is “ludicrous.”

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