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Ex-Rakia official's former Georgian aide loses case, ordered to pay US$1.7 billion

Staff Reporter/Ras Al Khaimah
Filed on August 4, 2016

A spokesman for Dr Massaad said the allegations against him "were spurious and very likely libellous" and that he is actually "owed substantial remuneration for the role he played in turning Rakia into a wealth creation vehicle for an emirate with no energy resources"

ras al khaimah - In a major development in the controversy surrounding Ras Al Khaimah and one of its ex-officials currently facing criminal allegations of financial embezzlement, the first among its many related court cases in Georgia has reached a judgment.

A Georgian judge ruled in the civil case of Rakeen Uptown Development LLC - a subsidiary of the RAK government-backed Rakeen Development PJSC - vs Gela Mikadze, former CEO of the company and Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority (Rakia) in Georgia, and Tecberg Projects LLP, also an entity associated with Mikadze, an associate of Khater Massaad, the top ex-Rakia official. He is facing criminal charges by the RAK government for allegedly embezzling and mismanaging funds valued at approximately $1.5 billion.

Mikadze and Tecberg were ordered to jointly pay Rakeen Uptown Development $1,736,000 court fee against claims of breach of duties as director, embezzlement and fraud. Mikadze was appointed by and closely associated with Massaad.

Mikadze admitted to wide scale fraud by misappropriating shares in Rakeen Development, Rakia, and Rakia Georgia Free Industrial Zone. The multi-million valued shares were transferred to Mikadze's account for a symbolic price and with approval for Massaad, acting without any authority.

Khater Massaad refutes charges

On August 1, the government of Ras Al Khaimah said it would file criminal charges against Dr Khater Massaad, head of Star Industrial Holding Limited, in connection with the $1.5 billion amount. They went on to say that Massaad had already been tried and convicted by UAE criminal courts for corruption and fraud, embezzled and misappropriated government assets while heading Rakia, and continued to operate global businesses despite his reputation and activities that has affected many countries.

On Thursday, a spokesman for Dr Massaad said the above allegations "were spurious and very likely libellous" and that, to the contrary, he is "owed substantial remuneration for the role he played in turning Rakia into a wealth creation vehicle for an emirate with no energy resources."

The spokesman said: "Dr Khater Massaad completely refutes these accusations. There is little, if any, due and proper legal process being carried out and this is nothing more than a judicial inquiry by a grandstanding press release.

"Dr Massaad began advising His Highness Shaikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, when he was the Crown Prince in 2003, and turned Rakia into the leading regional industrial free zone until his enforced departure in 2012."

The spokesperson said the allegations made against Dr Massaad were unattributed to anyone in particular - such as a prosecutor from the State of Ras Al Khaimah - and nor were they made by the Government itself. As a consequence, Dr Massaad has begun discussions with his legal team about the serious defamation to his character.

reporters@khaleejtimes.com


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