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Abraaj Group founder cedes control of fund management biz in revamp

United Arab Emirates-based private equity firm Abraaj Group Ltd. announced a reorganization of its business that will see the separation of Abraaj Investment Management Ltd., or AIML, and Abraaj Holdings.

Abraaj Group founder Arif Naqvi has handed over the management of AIML, the group's fund management business, to two co-CEOs, Omar Lodhi and Selcuk Yorgancioglu, effective Feb. 23.

Lodhi and Yorgancioglu have each been with the group for more than 10 years and were partners for the group's Asia and Turkey businesses, respectively.

Meanwhile, Naqvi will focus on managing Abraaj Holdings. He will, however, retain a nonexecutive role as a member of AIML's global investment committee.

In addition, AIML has commissioned a comprehensive review of its corporate structure, with areas of focus to include governance and control functions. The business will have an independent board of directors to which internal audit and compliance will directly report.

Abraaj also announced it will temporarily halt its deployment activities until the reorganization is complete.

The move follows claims by four of Abraaj's investors that it had misused funds in its healthcare fund, Reuters reported Feb. 23.

The investors, which include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and World Bank's unit IFC, had separately hired forensic accountants to examine how money in the Abraaj Healthcare Fund was used, "a source close to one of the firms" told the news wire.