DUBAI: The Port Fund announced it has finally secured the release of $496 million in investor funds that have been frozen at Noor Bank in Dubai for over 14 months, allowing the fund to immediately begin repaying its investors.
The money consists of proceeds earned by The Port Fund through the 2017 sale of a development project in the Philippines. In November 2017, as the proceeds of that sale were being transferred to the Port Fund’s account at Noor Bank, they were frozen, leaving investors empty handed.
Dubai subsequently cleared the money of any legal concerns, however, Kuwait which was the largest investor in The Port Fund, continued to block its release. On December 30, 2018, the Kuwait Attorney General, Dherar Ali Al-Asousi, submitted a letter to Dubai Attorney General, Essam Issa Al-Humaidan, formally requesting the money’s release to allow the fund to pay its investors and other beneficiaries.
“It has taken over a year of diligent effort, but we are pleased that both Kuwait and Dubai have recognized the lawful nature of our successful management of The Port Fund,” said Mark Williams, investment director of the fund. “The Port Fund nearly doubled our investors’ original capital before the money was frozen, ranking it in the top quartile of private equity funds started before the global recession. We can now distribute the benefits of our hard work and start to mitigate the significant financial damage caused by freezing those funds. We thank our investors and stakeholders for their patience and trust in our management team.”
Kuwait has also been prosecuting two Port Fund executives for over a year, under charges that they misappropriated the public funds invested by the State of Kuwait, the same funds that had been frozen at Noor Bank when the fund was attempting to pay investors.
“Now that the Kuwait government investors in The Port Fund have been paid, we look forward to Kuwait’simmediate dismissal of all the false charges filed against Ms. Marsha Lazareva and Mr. Saeed Dashti,” added Williams. “Payment of the Kuwait investors clearly exonerates our colleagues, although it has always been obvious that the funds were never misappropriated, but frozen in Dubai. The two executives should be thanked for their successful stewardship over these public funds rather unjustly prosecuted by Kuwait.”