Atul Gupta. Picture: MARTIN RHODES
Atul Gupta. Picture: MARTIN RHODES

United Arab Emirates businessman Amin al-Zarooni, the purchaser of Tegeta Exploration and Resources from the Gupta-linked Oakbay Investments, seems not to have the reputation Oakbay has suggested.

None of the 12 UAE-based fund managers and bankers contacted by Bloomberg had heard of him.

After Oakbay announced the R2.97bn sale of Tegeta on Wednesday, there was speculation about Charles King, the Swiss shelf company named as the purchaser, and its owner, Zarooni.

Oakbay later released a second statement in which it described Zarooni as "a leading businessman in the United Arab Emirates and a respected and active participant in global private equity markets".

Oakbay listed a number of businesses it said Zarooni was involved in — including Triangle Business Connections in Abu Dhabi and Arep Ville Abu Dhabi.

Triangle’s offices were closed and workers at neighbouring businesses said that it was usually empty and the owners had moved in about two months ago.

An office manager for the Arep office in the emirate declined to say whether Al Zarooni was involved with the business.

Charles King, registered in Lausanne, Switzerland, was a "special purpose vehicle" acquired by Zarooni to facilitate the Tegeta purchase, Oakbay said on Wednesday.

Ronald Beau, listed as a director of Charles King, declined to comment when called at his office in Geneva.

Beau advises international groups, particularly in the energy and finance industries, on the development of their tax policies, according to the website of BEAU HLB, of which he is CEO.

A nameplate inside a building at Rue de Bourg 27 in Lausanne shows both Charles King and BEAU HLB are located on the fifth floor.

Those offices — above a psychiatry practice, a violin maker and a yoga studio — were largely empty when visited by Bloomberg News.

Bloomberg, with Staff Writer

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