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Bahrain’s Unicorn alleges former CEO committed crimes

The former chief executive and founder of Bahrain's Unicorn Investment Bank committed 58 criminal offences, including misappropriating bank funds, an independent investigation by consultancy Deloitte concluded, Unicorn said on Tuesday.


September 28, 2011 11:18 by

Majid Al-Refai, who left the Islamic firm in August 2010, is alleged to have engaged in transactions without the approval of the company’s board of directors, as well as destroying over 8,000 bank documents and preventing bank partners and other authorities from obtaining bank documents, Unicorn said in an emailed statement.

Unicorn said the general prosecutor, who commissioned the Deloitte investigation, had now referred the case to Bahrain’s criminal court.

Several calls to the prosecutor were not answered and the former CEO was not immediately available.

Bahraini authorities have placed a travel ban on the former CEO, who was named Banker of the Year in 2009 as part of the Banker Middle East Industry Awards, and have instructed all banks in the country to freeze his assets.

Unicorn has filed two civil cases against Al-Refai and two other former employees to retrieve the misappropriated funds. The company did not provide details on how much money is involved.

Unicorn said the legal proceedings against Al-Refai have been in process since September of last year and do not effect the continuing operations of the bank.

Sources told Reuters in August of last year that Al-Refai left the company due to a dispute with its board over strategy. Ikbal Daredia was appointed acting chief executive of Unicorn.

The unlisted investment bank, founded in 2004, posted a first-half profit of $4.1 million, with assets of $515.2 million. (Reporting by Shaheen Pasha; Editing by David Holmes and Reed Stevenson)


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