Kuwait financier cited in SEC lawsuit dead -sources

July 26, 2009

By Rania El-Gamal and Eman Goma
KUWAIT, July 26 (Reuters) – Kuwaiti financier Hazem Al-Braikan, who was sued by the U.S. securities regulator last week for allegedly profiting from “fraudulent” takeover reports, is dead, security sources said on Sunday.

A policeman outside Braikan’s home said the death appeared to be suicide.

A security source told Reuters the Ministry of Interior’s operations centre received a call about a shooting and found a dead man at the scene, whom they identified as Hazem Khaled al-Braikan. A second source confirmed the death to Reuters.

Braikan, in his 30s, was the CEO of Al Raya Investment, which is 10 percent owned by Citigroup Inc.

“It’s very sad news. This crisis has seen a lot of people in the Gulf and across the world fall from grace, and each person is different in terms of their ability to handle pressure,” said Mohammed Yasin, chief executive of Shuaa Securities, in Dubai.

Police were at Braikan’s house in the Kuwait City district of al-Rawda, where the body was still inside at 1122 GMT.

A policeman at the home told Reuters that Braikan’s brother had called for help. The policeman said the financier had shot himself.

On Thursday, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sued Braikan, and entities linked to him, saying they had improperly earned millions of dollars from trades in Harman International Industries Inc and Textron Inc.

Other defendants in the SEC suit include United Gulf Bank and KIPCO Asset Management Co (KAMCO). Both are part of the Kuwait Projects Co (KIPCO) group.

All the firms have denied the allegations.
KIPCO is affiliated with senior members of Kuwait’s ruling al-Sabah family and is the biggest investment firm by assets in Kuwait.

KAMCO and United Gulf Bank said on Friday they made no gain from trading in the shares of Harman and Textron.

In papers filed in Manhattan federal court last week, the SEC said Al-Braikan and entities linked to him earned more than $5 million from trades in the two U.S. firms.

The SEC said it obtained an emergency court order freezing the trading profits in U.S. accounts held by Braikan and the other firms. (Additional reporting by Matt Smith in Dubai, writing by Amran Abocar; editing by Thomas Atkins and Will Waterman)

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