THE CHIEF executive of Kuwaiti investment group Al-Raya, in which Citigroup has a 10 per cent stake, has died in an apparent suicide three days after US regulator the SEC launched high-profile fraud charges against him.
Hazem Khalid Al-Braikan, 37 years old, was found dead in bed with a gunshot wound to his head and a gun by his side yesterday. The SEC said he had made millions trading after a fake press release claimed that US group Harman was about to be bought out.
Al Raya Investments, which denied the SEC charges before the apparent suicide of its boss, is based in the landmark Ahmad Tower in Kuwait, which also holds Citigroup offices. The SEC said last Thursday it was freezing $5bn (£3bn) of trading profits in US-based accounts in the names of Al-Braikan and “related” trading groups the United Gulf Bank and KIPCO Asset Management.
It said Al-Braikan and the firms bought shares of Harman International Industries, which makes Harman Kardon audio equipment, just before a hoax press release sent shares of the firm skyrocketing.
When Harman issued a statement showing the rumours were false the shares nosedived, but by that point al-Braikan had already divested, the SEC says, walking away with a multi-million dollar profit.
The SEC may still sue Al-Braikan’s estate, a former SEC lawyer said.