In October 2013, a Dubai court delivered a guilty verdict against the Pakistani businessman Malik Noureed Awan who was arrested after his Ponzi-like investment scheme collapsed and left behind a long trail of victims. MMA Forex, the forex brokerage arm of MMA Group, is back in business and seeking investments all over again under its new trading name, MMA Bank GT, the Gulf News newspaper reported.
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Enticed by the promise of incredible monthly returns, hundreds of UAE investors signed up with MMA Forex. But like any other ‘double your money’ scam, the Ponzi shop bubble finally burst when the UAE authorities cracked down on the firm’s offices. An estimated AED 40 million ($11 million) is believed to have been paid by hundreds of investors into the accounts of MMA Forex, only to lose it all for good.
The company allegedly told investors it could more than double their investments from forex trading. On its website, it said it requires a minimum investment of $300.
On its part, the MMA Bank GT tried to play down the allegations. The general manager of the parent company, Zubair Ahmad, said: “The owner of MMA Forex is no longer alive. His son who happens to be our CEO, was arrested over regulatory issues. MMA Group has no links with MMA Forex. We are not taking any investment on behalf of MMA Forex. We are here to just facilitate the payments of those affected by it.”
Even as the parent MMA Group tries to wash its hands of the old foreign exchange fraud, it didn’t give a time frame for returning victims’ money or explain why MMA Forex figures prominently on MMA Group’s website.
The new scam is also using the old tactics by claiming they are a conglomerate that ran an airline, a bank and other businesses, the undercover journalist revealed when he visited their office. He further notes: “As we were ushered into a conference room, promotional videos ran on a TV screen about the group’s ‘diversified’ portfolio that includes a heavy equipment industry and a private airline operating from Ras Al Khaimah airport.”
The state-owned newspaper raised the question of how the old scam’s operators could legally set up and run another investment fund when they apparently never licensed to do this in the first place, is under investigation for illegal trading by the regulators and has judgements against them from the civil courts. It added that the new company is operating from the same building in Dubai’s Al Nahda area, ironically the building that housed another dubious investment company called Sunfeast Infotech. The MMA’s Al Nahda office on the 11th floor of the MAI Tower, remains closed since the crackdown made by Dubai Police in 2012.
Source: Finance Magnates