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UAE, Gulf stocks claw back some of their losses in topsy-turvy day

Markets|: The Gulf's stock markets ended the week paring some of the steep losses from earlier in the day. The selling spell in early trades was a reaction seen elsewhere amid lingering concerns about the health of the global economy. Dubai Financial Markets closed 1.1 per cent down after recovering from a deeper red, with top lender Emirates NBD clawing back most of its losses to end the day 0.8 per cent lower. At one point, it had hit a low of 2.9 per cent. The bank, incidentally, had impressed investors on Wednesday with its forecast-beating full-year results. The rout in the global markets triggered wider losses with Emaar Properties shedding 1.8 per cent and Dubai Islamic Bank dropping 1.2 per cent. FAB's smart turn Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange traded 0.4 per cent down with Aldar shedding 2 per cent and Etisalat slipping 0.6 per cent. First Abu Dhabi Bank wiped out all its losses during the day and traded flat at end of the session. The bank had gained 2.5 per cent Wednesday after reporting strong 2020 results, which also helped it neutralise losses on Thursday. Banks disappoint Qatar Exchange's main index traded 1 per cent lower as Al Khalij Commercial Bank shed 1.9 per cent after its board of directors proposed a lower dividend payout than a year earlier despite reporting higher full-year net profits and revenues. The profit rose around 6 per cent on the back of a near 22 per cent increase in revenue, but the board recommended a marginal 0.06 Qatari riyal a share in dividends, down from 0.08 Qatari riyal paid out a year before. Qatar Commercial Bank fell more than 4 per cent at some point during the session, but recovered to settle 1.2 per cent down. The lender announced its plan to raise at least $1 billion in bonds taking advantage of positive market conditions with interest rates running low. The bank earlier in the session slipped 4 per cent as its full-year results and watered-down dividends disappointed investors. Bucking a trend Saudi Arabia's benchmark index actually gained 0.3 per cent, its third rise in the last 11 sessions. Telecoms led the way after a report that the massive NEOM City project is in talks with local and international tech firms for a cloud computing deal. Saudi Telecom rose 1.3 per cent and Zain Saudi traded higher by 0.7 per cent. However, the food group Savola pulled back 1.6 per cent after reporting a 67 per cent plunge in fourth-quarter net profit amidst lower sales and margins. Oman's 30-company index was down 0.3 per cent as National Bank of Oman dipped after announcing no dividends to shareholders and an exposure to the defaulting Darvesh Group, while Bahrain index edged back 0.4 per cent with telco Batelco retreating 0.7 per cent.

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Failed private equity firm Abraaj's Arif Naqvi to be extradited to US

Markets|: London: Abraaj Group's Arif Naqvi lost a bid to fight his extradition to the US, another blow to the founder of what was once the Middle East's largest private-equity fund. Naqvi should be sent to face American charges of fraud and racketeering, a judge said in a London court Thursday. Prosecutors accuse the former executive of concealing the true position of a fund struggling with a liquidity crisis, while siphoning off hundreds of millions of dollars for his own family. Read More UAE corporate scandals require a clean up Investment firms need patience and more to unlock Gulf state's wealth flow All powerful and then Founded in 2002, Abraaj grew to become one of the world's most influential emerging-market investors. But the fund collapsed into liquidation after a group, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, sought to investigate the alleged mismanagement of money in its health-care fund. Naqvi himself was forced to surrender control after it was revealed that the firm's main revenues hadn't covered operating costs for years. While Naqvi, who suffers from poor health, has made his home in the UK since 2018, "there is no doubt that the US is where most of the loss and harm has resulted from the relevant activity," Judge Emma Arbuthnot said in her ruling. Jail time By the time of its collapse in 2018, Abraaj owed creditors over $1 billion. He faces up to 30 years in prison in the US. Naqvi has rejected the American charges, with his lawyer saying at a hearing in June that his "unshakable conviction is that he is entirely innocent of these allegations." He can appeal the decision, meaning he's unlikely to be extradited any time soon. Naqvi's lawyers couldn't immediately be reached after Thursday's ruling. Abraaj, which once managed almost $14 billion, collapsed in part because of "a deliberate attack by competitors" and following US concerns over his fund's role in selling a critical Pakistani power company to Chinese investors, according to Hugo Keith, Naqvi's attorney. The judge dismissed Naqvi's arguments that a large amount of the alleged misconduct took place in the UK. "I did not find anything of the sort," the judge said.