A Dhaka Court on Monday ordered for confiscating the entire stake of Dr Khater Massad in three Bangladeshi companies — Star Ceramics Ltd, Star Porcelain Ltd and Rakeen Development Company (BD) Ltd.
On behalf of the Bangladesh Government, Attorney General's Office filed the confiscation petition to the Special Court of Imrul Kayes on Monday, based on the request of the United Arab Emirates' state Ras Al Khaimah (RAK).
The RAK authorities have been chasing the assets of Dr Massaad since 2019 as the once Chief Executive Officer of Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority (RAKIA) had been convicted by a UAE court for embezzling a huge amount of RAKIA funds.
The court also ordered to transfer the confiscated shares in the three companies to RAKIA.
Deputy Attorney General Imran Ahmed Bhuiyan, who represented the Attorney General's Office at the court, told The Business Standard, Bangladesh responded to a friendly nation's request to help them recover stolen assets and we expect that our friends across the world would follow the lead in bringing our laundered money back to home.
Massaad owns 30% of Rakeen Development, while his British Virgin Island-based holding company Star Bangladesh Holdings Ltd owns 43.5% of Star Ceramics, and Lebanon based holding company Star Investments SAL holds 31.25% of Star Porcelain Ltd.
A holding company invests in shares of other companies to own the business entirely or partially.
Based on the face value of the shares, Massaad's total stake stands at more than Tk63.33 crore in the ceramic company, Tk20.31 crore in the porcelain company and Tk40.46 crore in the real estate entity, according to the legal documents.
Khater Massaad, 67, a Lebanese-Swiss national, owns ceramics and real-estate businesses in many developing countries such as Bangladesh, India, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Ethiopia.
He was convicted in a UAE court for embezzling $150 million of public funds during his stint in RAKIA as the Chief Executive Officer until September 2012. However, his former employer RAKIA claimed the amount would be manifold than that.
Massaad, along with his two associates, was sentenced to 15 years behind bars on top of an order to refund the entire amount.
RAKIA wrote to the Bangladesh Government in 2019 that Massaad brought a substantial proceed of his embezzled money in Bangladesh, and invested in the tree enterprises.
Of those, Star Ceramics was on its way for stock market listing, but fell back in 2019 as the RAKIA representatives launched legal actions in Bangladesh.