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More bad press - Desert Storm Fraud

More bad press - Desert Storm Fraud

Old Oct 16th 2010, 9:19 am
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Default More bad press - Desert Storm Fraud

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/busines...G2RtFK6LU1WKxI


Millions drained from a bank account. Death threats in the desert. Investors duped.

A politically connected group of New York investors said all of this happened when they launched an insurance venture in Abu Dhabi, according to a startling lawsuit that has drawn attention to rising business fraud in the United Arab Emirates.

The investors are suing the government of Abu Dhabi, members of the royal family and other officials for bilking them out of millions and threatening to kill an executive. The UAE consulate in Washington didn't respond to requests for comment.

Rep. Gary Ackerman, (D-NY), head of the House committee overseeing Middle East affairs, told The Post that he's aware of the suit and numerous alleged scams in Abu Dhabi's system.

"I'd like to see Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates be more responsible for protecting the interests of our investors and those from all over the world who try to invest there," Ackerman said. "The emirates' reputations are at stake here."

Several New York political figures who lost money in the venture include: Jay Jacobs, chairman of the New York State Democratic Party; Bruce Blakeman, a GOP stalwart who ran in the recent US Senate primary here; and attorney Howard Fensterman, who served as a finance chairman for Sen. Chuck Schumer.

The suit said the group set up a $500 million insurance venture, American Gulf Insurance, at the behest of Abu Dhabi officials. After courting investors with lavish palace parties, royal family members supplied licenses and consultants to help the company through a $500 million public stock offering there set for September 2009, in exchange for IPO stakes.

Just ahead of the IPO, the group's US executive, Azzam Rustom, said he discovered that $19 million in an escrow account for the IPO had disappeared from an emirate-based bank through forged documents made by a military notary at the office of a crown prince, Sheik Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, according to court papers.

Rustom claims that after he complained to the government's criminal investigation division, four men flashing badges abducted him from his home for a 12-hour terror-filled drive into the desert while threatening to chop off his head.

According to the lawsuit, abductors warned, "You need to forget about this situation, and if you don't, you will find yourself in the desert with your head cut off, and in our country, no one will ever find you."

With no local remedy at hand, investors went public with their claims in state court in Florida, where Rustom resides and runs a national insurance group, Gateway Insurance.

Accused of fraud, conspiracy, theft and terrorism were, among others, Abu Dhabi and royal family member Mohamed Saeed Sulaiman Mohamed Al Mazrouei, who's an official of the Criminal Investigation Division.



Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/busines...#ixzz12VnN2BFE
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