Middle East

Small emirate in UAE accuses businessman of embezzling $1.5B

A small emirate in the United Arab Emirates has accused a businessman who once ran its local sovereign wealth fund of "global embezzlement and mismanagement of $1.5 billion."

A spokeswoman for the businessman, Khater Massaad, declined to immediately comment Monday when reached by The Associated Press.

An unusually strongly worded dispatch carried by the state-run WAM news agency accused Massaad of stealing the money while serving as the head of the Ras al-Khaimah Investment Authority. The Las Vegas-based Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute estimates that fund is worth $1.2 billion.

Massaad previously was described in local press reports as being an adviser to Sheikh Saud bin Saqr, who now is the ruler of Ras al-Khaimah. The small emirate in the UAE's north borders Oman and is near the Strait of Hormuz.