Former RAK Investment Authority officials jailed for 15 years

Khater Massaad
Khater Massaad

Ras Al Khaimah - The Court, presided over by Judge Sameh Hamed Shaker, sentenced the two suspects in absentia.

By Ahmed Shaaban

Published: Tue 23 May 2017, 10:00 PM

Last updated: Wed 24 May 2017, 2:04 AM

The Ras Al Khaimah criminal court on Tuesday convicted Khater Massaad, the former CEO of RAK Investment Authority, and Gela Mikadze, the former head of RAKIA Georgia of embezzlement.
The Court, presided over by Judge Sameh Hamed Shaker, sentenced the two suspects, in absentia, to 15 years in prison and ordered them to repay US$17.2 million they embezzled from RAKIA.
The Court, as per a statement Khaleej Times got from the RAK government media office, Massad, Mikadze and a further defendant George Janashia, had all been entrusted with maintaining and preserving the public interest.
"However, they intentionally caused damages to the money and interests of the authority for which they work, Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority."
The case concerned putting in place and then cancelling a joint venture agreement between JSC Poti Sea Port (at the time 100 per cent owned by RAKIA) and a newly incorporated limited liability partnership named Raystar Trade LLP.
The Court noted in its judgment that under the Raystar-PSP JV agreement, Raystar was to contribute nothing more than its expertise in managing ports even though the firm had "no experience in this field".
The beneficiaries of Raystar were, unknown to all in RAKIA bar Massaad, Mikadze and Janashia.
The agreement was made by these three in the full knowledge that Raystar could not contribute anything as they had no experience and in the full knowledge that the contract would be cancelled on RAKIA making a payment to Raystar. That payment totalled US$17.2 million paid to the personal Swiss bank accounts of Mikadze and Janashia.
Khater Massaad fled the UAE in 2012 when allegations concerning fraud and embezzlement first surfaced. Following extensive cross-border investigations it rapidly become clear that Khater Massaad had serious questions to answer over US$1.5billion in misappropriated funds and the corrupt dealings he had been involved in across the globe.
This is the second conviction of Khater Massaad, who was also convicted in absentia in October 2015 in relation to fraud concerning property leases. He is currently awaiting extradition from Saudi Arabia to the United Arab Emirates under a GCC and Interpol arrest warrant having been detained at Jeddah airport in September last year.

More news from UAE