The chief executive financier of Kuwait's Al Raya Investment Company, Hazem Khalid al-Braikan, who was last week charged by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for rigging share prices of US company, was found shot dead in an apparent suicide at his home in Al Rawdha in Kuwait yesterday, Kuwaiti television channel Al-Rai said.
Braikan, the chief executive of Al Raya Investment Company along with Bahrain-based Kuwait-owned investment bank and another Gulf financial institution had been named defendants in a civil suit filed by the SEC in a Manhattan federal court on Thursday for deliberately spreading false takeover rumours through a 19 July press release.
The press release, which said that Saudi Arabia-based Arabian Peninsula Group (APG) would take over Connecticut-based audio and infotainment equipment company Harman International Industries, sent the share price of Harman skyrocketing.
However, the share price came tumbling down after the takeover bid was denied by Harman, but not before Braikan and the two financial institutions made millions of dollars.
The SEC said that Braikan, through his Al Raya Investment Company, Kipco Asset Management Company (Kamco) and United Gulf Bank, both associated to the Kuwait ruling family, bought a large amount of stock in Harman shortly before the rumour was circulated and then sold them when the company's stock prices soared.
The SEC, under fire for having been a mute spectator prior to the Wall Street collapse last year and ignoring the numerous warnings on the Ponzi scheme operator Bernard Madoff, obtained an emergency court order freezing more than $5 million in various accounts of Al Raya Investment Company, Kipco Asset Management Company (Kamco) and United Gulf Bank.
The SEC claimed that Al Raya and Kamco had done the same thing earlier on 23 April, when they took large positions in US company, Textron, by floating rumours that a UAE-Kuwait consortium would acquire Textron, which they later sold at inflated prices to reap illicit profits.