On 27 October 2020, the DIFC Financial Markets Tribunal published its judgment in relation to a number of investments promoted in the DIFC by ‘Al Masah’.The DFSA had issued decision notices against two Al Masah companies and three individuals on the basis that, amongst other things, the investments constituted collective investment funds and had been promoted using misleading or deceptive conduct which concealed from investors the payment of placement fees to Al Masah. All five decision notices were referred to the Financial Markets Tribunal.
Adam Temple acted for the DFSA, led by Sarah Clarke QC. After an entirely remote hearing, including cross examination of witnesses, the FMT affirmed the DFSA’s decisions, imposing fines of $3 million and $1.5 million on the companies, and $225,000, $175,000 and $150,000 on the individuals.The individuals were also prohibited from performing specified activities in the DIFC.
The judgment will be of interest to financial services firms in the DIFC, or those selling investments within the DIFC. It involved detailed consideration of the definition of ‘Funds’ under DIFC law and the attribution of conduct to regulated and unregulated entities.