The UAE-Israel partnership agrees to buy Finablr

A business group linked to the former Israeli prime minister has finalized a deal to buy Finablr, the pay-per-view scandal-hit majority owned by Indian entrepreneur BR Shetty.

Ehud Olmert, Israeli prime minister from 2006-09, is the non-executive chairman of Prism Advance Solutions, the London-registered company announced in October as a bidder alongside Royal Strategic Partners Abu Dhabi for Finablr’s assets includes its UAE foreign currency subsidiary. Exchange, a person who received information about the contract said.

Mr Olmert is involved in the deal – heard as the biggest since the United Arab Emirates and Israel agreed to normalize relations in August – “on a daily basis”, shouting to senior officials in Abu Dhabi or Dubai, the man said. His interest was intended to “give some confidence that this is a real business effort”, the person said.

Royal Strategic Partners, run by veteran Abubaker Al Khoori, is linked to Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, vice chairman of the Abu Dhabi Action Council and brother of the de facto leader of the UAE.

The unit is a subsidiary of private investor Abu Dhabi Capital Group, owned by Sheikh Hazza and his immediate family, according to Diligencia, a UK-based corporate data provider.

Prism, whose London-based leader Amir Nagammy, an Israeli of Arab origin, is expected to play a small role, with their Emirati partners in control of the rest. Guy Rothschild, a Swiss-based financial advisor, is the co-founder and director of Prism, which was founded in November last year.

In a statement, a Prism spokesman said Mr Olmert is a non-executive chairman of Prism Advance Solutions but has no connection with Prism Group AG, a Swiss vehicle through which Finablr will be built.

Finablr announced Thursday that Global Fintech Investments Holding, a unit of Prism Group AG, will acquire its business for a nominal fee of $ 1, pending regulatory approval.

GFIH will provide working capital to maintain operations and support employees and creditors. GFIH also agreed to assist in recovering third parties in connection with a “potential historical error”, promising to pay a quarter of the amount returned to Finablr for consideration. plus up to a maximum of $ 190m.

Ehud Olmert was prime minister of Israel from 2006 to 2009 © Bryan R Smith / AFP / Getty

One person who received information about the talks described Prism as a “white knight” trying to solve problems for Finablr employees and lenders. Financial details have not been released.

Mr Olmert, who spent time in an Israeli prison after being convicted of accepting bribes, declined to comment. ADCG did not respond to a request for comment.

Shares in London-registered Finablr were cut off in March when it was dragged into a scandal surrounding NMC, the health care group that collapsed by Mr Shetty.

He has since lost control of his foreign exchange business Travellex after reporting more than $ 1bn in undistributed debt. Its UAE Exchange subsidiary, which made up a large portion of the group’s revenue, was taken over by the UAE central bank in March.

Prism says it has institutional investment promises, including hedge funds and sovereign wealth funds from the U.S. to the Gulf, to finance the deal, according to one of those who received information about the talks.

Both UK and UAE regulators must issue the permit.

Finablr’s chief executive Bhairav ​​Trivedi declined to comment, citing “the secretive nature of the matter”.

The Israeli banker described the “golden rush” of deals with Israel and the UAE in recent months and questioned whether it was possible to “complete appropriate levels of diligence in such a short time”.

Mr Shetty has blamed the crises in Finablr and NMC, which have revealed more than $ 4bn in undisclosed debt, on alleged fraud committed by various former officials.

Many workers have been unpaid for months since the UAE Exchange defied a loss of liquidity in the spring. Councilors hope new property will inject capital to pay workers.

Workers in India have also criticized local government for paying bonuses for themselves ahead of other workers – a move that prompted an internal review in October.

Mr Shetty declined to comment.