Tycoon to arrive in Bahrain for fraud hearing
Manama, January 22, 2012
A top Australian businessman is flying to Bahrain to give evidence against a local company at the centre of an alleged BD1.4 million ($3.71 million) fraud.
One of the country's largest land developers, Johnson Property Group founder Keith Johnson, claims he is owed the money by Western Gulf Advisory (WGA) founder and owner Ahsan Ali Syed.
The Indian shot to global fame after launching an audacious GBP300m ($467 million) takeover bid for English Premier League club Blackburn Rovers in August 2010.
The businessman later pulled out of the race and bought Spanish football team Racing Santander in January last year.
Johnson alleges he was defrauded when he asked WGA to fund a major residential redevelopment in New South Wales.
He claims to have paid an $81,000 non-refundable fee and a further $3.8 million establishment fee to WGA in August 2010 to secure a $150 million loan at 4.07 per cent interest.
The loan was due to arrive in November 2010, but Johnson alleges it never came.
The Australian is due to give evidence in front of the Public Prosecution at the Bahrain Chamber for Dispute Resolution tomorrow.
Melbourne-based lawyer Andrew Bryce will accompany him and to present affidavits from several alleged Australian victims of WGA.
More than 15 Australians are being represented by Mr Bryce, who claims to have knowledge of other victims in New Zealand, Malaysia and Ireland.
According to Mr Bryce, the BCDR ordered WGA and Mr Syed to repay his client $3.6 million plus interest last October.
He also claims Syed was told to pay costs totalling BD970,094 and had a case seeking damages against Mr Johnson thrown out.
WGA appealed against the decision and a final judgement is expected tomorrow (January 23).
WGA is headquartered at the Bahrain Financial Harbour. Its licence was earlier suspended by Bahrain's Industry and Commerce Ministry for allegedly operating outside its remit. WGA officials could not be reached for comment yesterday. – TradeArabia News Service