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Finablr names CEO as $300m defaults by group firm unfold

Issac John /Dubai Filed on April 1, 2020
Promoth Manghat, the outgoing chief executive, will be replaced by Bhairav Trivedi.

(KT file)

Finablr, the crisis-torn financial services holding company, announced on Wednesday the appointment of Bhairav Trivedi as chief executive officer amid reports of defaults of $300 million of foreign-exchange loans by UAE Exchange - the flagship remittance network of the London-listed company.

Michael Tomalin, co-chairman and chairman of the Nomination Committee of Finablr, which comprises UAE Exchange, Travelex, Unimoni and Remit2India, said Bhairav has joined the board of directors "with immediate effect."

"He is an experienced business professional with over 25 years senior management experience in strategy, sales, marketing, business development and operations in the financial services sector, with deep domain expertise in emerging technologies and payments with a special focus on the consumer payment and remittance industry," Tomalin said in a statement to LSE.

"As announced on March 16, 2020, the effective resignation date of Promoth Manghat as outgoing chief executive is now effected on the appointment of Bhairav Trivedi," it said.

Finablr also announced that Rahul Pai, chief Financial officer, has resigned but has agreed to support Trivedi until a successor is identified, and said there are no further disclosures to be made pursuant to listing rule.

The $300 million loan default by UAE Exchange, set up by BR Shetty, the founder of the embattled NMC Health, has dragged some of Wall Street's top banks into the widening scandal. According to Bloomberg, lenders include Barclays, Goldman Sachs Group, JPMorgan Chase & Co, and a UAE bank that arranged the facility. "The borrowings haven't been repaid due the mounting problems surrounding UAE Exchange's owner Finablr," Bloomberg said, quoting informed sources.

"A representative for Finablr referred queries to the UAE central bank, which didn't respond to emailed queries. Representatives for Barclays, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan declined to comment," the news agency said.

Last month, Finablr raised doubts about its ability to continue as a going concern and said the company was taking steps to address a liquidity squeeze. It also estimated that $100 million in cheques may have been used as security for financing arrangements for the benefit of third parties.

Two weeks ago, the Central Bank of UAE launched an investigation into the operations of the UAE Exchange Centre, which had temporarily stopped accepting new transactions a few days ago in the aftermath of troubles brewing at its holding company Finablr founded in the midst of financial scandals related to NMC Healthcare, which was also founded by Shetty.

The central bank has said its inspection team started an examination on the UAE Exchange "in order to verify its compliance with the applicable laws and regulations. The Central Bank of UAE will take additional action, if necessary, once the examination is completed."

The apex bank said it will oversee operations management of the exchange, while "only its Wage Protection System will be allowed to operate until further notice."



Issac John

Editorial Director of Khaleej Times, is a well-connected Indian journalist and an economic and financial commentator. He has been in the UAE's mainstream journalism for 35 years, including 23 years with Khaleej Times. A post-graduate in English and graduate in economics, he has won over two dozen awards. Acclaimed for his authentic and insightful analysis of global and regional businesses and economic trends, he is respected for his astute understanding of the local business scene.

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