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Private Equity

Abraaj fund investors claim they are owed at least $300 million

Investors in a $1.6 billion Abraaj Group fund said they are owed at least $300 million by the floundering Middle Eastern private equity firm, according to a letter seen by Bloomberg News. They also ask to remove the company as manager.

The estimate of what is owed to Private Equity Fund IV by Abraaj is nearly triple the $94.6 million found after a review by Abraaj's accounting firm Deloitte in June. The investors are also seeking to stop paying management fees to Abraaj, citing breach of duties to the fund, according to the letter dated Aug. 13.

The investors' council has said it would take legal action if it is unable to reach an acceptable agreement with court-appointed liquidators Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers. It said since Deloitte and PwC were appointed on June 18, they have made "insufficient progress" to stem losses tied to "mismanagement and apparent fraudulent activity" by Abraaj and the general partner.

"The council has frankly run out of patience," according to the letter.

The joint provisional liquidators were not immediately available to comment on an email sent on Sunday.

The liquidators are trying to settle more than $1 billion of debt owed by Abraaj, one of the most influential emerging market investors until its dramatic collapse this year. The private equity firm is under court-supervised restructuring after it was found to have borrowed money from some of its own funds to meet operating expenses without investors' consent, people with knowledge of the matter have said.

The investors said the process of selling the firm is taking too long despite interest from parties including Cerberus Capital Management, Colony Capital Crescent Capital and Agility Capital. The group recently hired advisory firm Alvarez & Marsal Holdings to help recover money owed by Abraaj.