“This is a crucial moment in history. It is an opportunity to immutable and absolutely change the course of countless lives.
Arif Naqvi, a silvery-haired man with a soft, bearish charm, was giving the greatest speech of his life. Hundreds of business leaders gathered at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York to hear him speak that Monday morning in September 2017. It was his moment. The eyes of the world’s elite were on him and he knew he had to make a strong impression.
The American press had published glowing articles about Mr. Naqvi, who had dated billionaires, royalty and politicians. Bill Gates, Prince Charles and John Kerry were among those he interacted with on business or philanthropy. He has served on influential boards of directors at the United Nations and Interpol. He had signed Warren Buffett’s Giving Pledge and was presented as a potential future ruler of Pakistan, where he was born.
He was one of the world’s leading “impact investors” and his stated goal was to do good and make money, for his investors and for himself. Abraaj Group, his Dubai-based private equity firm, managed nearly $ 14 billion and had stakes in around 100 companies in emerging markets. Abraaj appeared to be a money making machine and was raising $ 6 billion from investors for a new fund.
It was no coincidence that the world’s political leaders met at the same time a few steps away at the UN headquarters. Mr. Naqvi’s focus at the impact investing conference, which he sponsored alongside Bank of America Corp. politicians gathered across town. Bank of America, which has invested in Abraaj, declined to comment on this account.