Nearly five years after it was shut down and its Pakistani CEO subsequently convicted and jailed for fraud, MMA Forex – the foreign exchange trading arm of MMA Group – is back in business and seeking investments all over again.
If this is not worrying enough (as Gulf News noted sarcastically), the company is operating from the same building in Dubai’s Al Nahda area where it peddled a Ponzi scheme in the garb of a foreign currency trading programme, duping hundreds of UAE residents out of an estimated Dh40 million between 2011 and 2013.
Assured monthly returns ranging from 10 to 12% on a minimum investment of $300, scores took bank loans and mortgaged their jewellery and homes to invest huge amounts of money in MMA Forex, only to lose it all.
Gulf News reported that nothing appeared to have changed when they visited MMA’s 15th floor office last fortnight posing as potential investors.
As they were ushered into a conference room, promotional videos ran on a TV screen about the group’s ‘diversified’ portfolio that includes a heavy equipment industry and a private airline operating from Ras Al Khaimah airport.
If you didn’t know better, you could be deluded into believing that you were dealing with a multinational company and that your money is safe., they added.
Fact is MMA has neither any heavy equipment industry nor any airline in Ras Al Khaimah and the GT suffix added to one of its concerns, MMA Bank, actually stands for General Trading.
MMA Bank GT is listed under “firms you should avoid doing business with” while MMA Forex is on the watch list of the Investor Alerts of the International Organisation of Securities Commissions.
What is clear though is that its audacious comeback has left previous investors angry and dismayed. On its part, MMA has repeatedly assured clients that it will not just refund them but also give them 40% profit. So far no one has been paid.
For the 72 UAE-based investors who lodged police complaints against the company, even this empty promise has not been made. As a punitive measure, MMA Forex has allegedly blacklisted all such clients and also ceased communication with them.
In response to an XPRESS query, the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority, on Sunday, confirmed that no airline called MMA airline is registered with them.
Meanwhile, in a desperate attempt to preempt the XPRESS expose, the MMA Group’s CEO shot off a letter to investors and also released a video saying that journalists are out to blackmail him as they want money from him. CEO’s brother was kidnapped three years ago while Malik Noureed Awan himself was sitting in jail for fraud by that time.