Abu Dhabi Matters2



We have all heard about the old Nigerian prince scam – wherein a mysterious prince gets in touch with you and offers you thousands of dollars. And all you have to do is transfer him some money upfront so he can send your vast riches to you.

Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? That’s because it is.

Now, there is a new scam that is specifically targeting start-ups – and the Nigerian prince has been replaced with His Excellency Hyper Rich Oil Tycoon from the UAE.


This tycoon wants to invest in your start-up – can you imagine anything more exciting? He is absolutely fine with the valuation that you put forward and he does not see the necessity of carrying out due diligence because he is ready to invest. This is a dream come true and, on top of all that, he wants you to go to Dubai to iron out the details.

At this point, you may begin to feel nervous. His email address points to a website that was registered less than one year ago, and his lawyer’s email is just a gmail one. Both emails have in their signatures addresses in downtown Abu Dhabi… and yet he wants you to go to Dubai in only 14 working days. On top of this, the fact that you weren’t able to find any useful information about this mysterious tycoon (or his lawyer) doesn’t help your restlessness.

You know this sounds strange, unorthodox, bizarre even. Like the Nigerian prince, it seems that all which glitters is not gold. And then, when you receive his latest email, you read the catch in his own words:

“According [to] the local laws, you will have to file, register and notarize the transaction and your accompanying documents at the court of First Instance in the UAE as required by law before we can be authorized to release the investment amount to you.”

And the cost to you? Almost $10,000

Abu Dhabi Matters2


Luckily, this investor doesn’t seem very sophisticated about crafting a scam that has any resemblance of legitimacy… And the paperwork that his lawyer produced is farcical at best.

It recently happened to one of our clients: their company is UK based, with no operations or interests in the UAE – why would they need to file anything in another country? They are fundraising and this investor contacted them out of the blue with a tempting message:

“Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh,

I will be interested to provide you with the required funds for a good return on investment.
Contact me with a copy of your detailed business proposal for further discussions.
Best Regards,

His Excellency Dr. Xxxxx Xxxxxxx
Global Tower, Plot C21,
East 11, Electra Street,
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates”

Shortly after, we received an attachment with a scanned ID and what they thought might pass for a proof of funds. They didn’t send a statement from a bank or any other verifiable third party – but just a PDF with a “solemn declaration”:

“I, [name of the supposed investor] hereby  solemnly  and  sincerely  declare  as  follows:

  1. I  hereby  make  this  declaration  knowing  that  its  contents  will  be  relied  upon  by  way  of  representation.
  2. I  hereby  confirm  and  declare  that  I  have  available  in  excess  of  £5,000,000.00  (Five  Million  Great  Britain Pounds  Only)  on  deposit  with  my  bankers  as  approved  for  equity  investment  to  [name of a private individual that has nothing to do with this and that our scammers have probably forgot to edit out] and  that  these  funds are  good,  clean  and  clear  and  of  non-criminal  origin.
  3. I  further  declare  that  said  funds  have  been  earned  in  the  course  of  normal  commercial  business  and  are of  commercial  origin  and  legally  generated  and  the  information  supplied  in  this  documentation,  and  the  funds  and assets  involved,  are  not  in  breach  of  any  Money  Laundering  Regulation/Accord  howsoever  interpreted  and defined,  whether  within  the  host  state  of  the  transaction  or  internationally.
  4. I  further  declare  that  I  have  full  and  complete  legal  title  and  authority  to  commit,  place  or  invest  those funds  as  I  so  choose,  decide  or  confirm,  and  that  I  have  initiated  any  actions  of  my  own  free  will,  without  any further  solicitation  or  influence.
  5. I  further  declare  that  there  are  no  liens,  commercial  obligations  or  encumbrances  of  any  kind  afflicting  or attached  to  said  funds  and  that  there  are  no  other  currently  valid  or  pending  commitments.

I  make  this  solemn  declaration  conscientiously  believing  the  same  and  by  virtue  of  the  provision  of  the  statutory declarations  act.

Signed  and  Sealed  this  17th  day  of  February,  2021”

Needless to say, this is not a valid proof of funds. This, if nothing else, should be a major red flag.

Here instead you can see the handout that they’ve sent in relation to the supposed notarisation costs for the company. This really transforms a dubious and preposterous proposition into a fraudulent one:


Founders of start-ups sometimes have to deal with these kinds of scams, and that’s far from the only obstacle they will encounter. There is no way to avoid muddy situations, so what lesson can you take away from these Abu Dhabi scammers?

As a founder, you must facilitate the due diligence that any investors will carry out on your company, but it is equally important to do your own due diligence concerning your investor. It is something that makes sense for many different reasons but it is absolutely essential in cross-border transactions, or when you are not 100% sure about the legitimacy of your investors.


We cannot disclose the name of the false Abu Dhabi investor due to the possibility of his assumed identity having been stolen from someone innocent, and we do not intend to bring harm to who is potentially another victim of dubious people.

At the same time, this article is meant to leave an on-line trace that founders may find useful if they’ll ever find themselves in similar situations. Please always think twice if an investor seems too good to be true – and involve a trusted mentor or an advisor to help you judge the situation.

Also, you can get in contact with us, and ask us what we think about your situation. This predatory behaviour hurts the whole market and we’re committed to helping founders throughout their funding journey: just send us an email here and we’ll give you our feedback… no strings attached.

Abu Dhabi Matters2


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25 thoughts on “The Abu Dhabi Investment Scam

  1. Through LinkedIn I got a connection request from a Taqaseem Investment Company Rep. After accepting it I was approached that they can provide Debt FInancing @ 4% for 10 year term with a 1 year grace period until repayment starts. Sounds too good to be true but very tempting. The compnay is registered in Bahrain and checks out. They want to set up an SPV in UAE which costs $32,500 and they want this up front in order to close on a $10M loan.

    Have you ever heard of this company?

    1. hi Pasha, thanks for sharing this with the community.
      We want to offer a space where these things are discussed. At the same time we don’t know the specific company you mentioned and we will offer the company in question a chance to reply, should they reach out to us wishing to do so. Also, you might want to check out this article on red flags that might help you understand if you are in dangerous waters:

    2. Pasha – my firm has also recently had discussions with Taqaseem where they’ve offered debt financing under similar terms as what you’ve described. I’m curious whether you have or are proceeding with Taqaseem and what your experience has been thus far?

      1. tracy, i am supposed to do a call with them next week. it does seem to good to be true. if you’d like to discuss, we can compare notes. the website just launched in august 2022 so seems strange.

    3. did you do a call with these guys? can i ask who was your rep? just want to close the loop here. feels fishy but not sure.

      1. We were in touch with Taqaseem about the same deal structure explained in original post by @Pasha A. We have yet to pay the $32,500 fee but I wanted to see anyone else’s experience and whether these guys are legit?

      2. We also received an offer for financing similar to what is described above. We have not paid the set up fee. Anyone have experience with Taqaseem?

      3. if they are asking for a fee, it’s a scam. if they are giving you $100,000+, the fees are usually covered by the loan and amortized as an expense over the duration of the loan. thanks for the advice.

      4. They are asking for $32K upfront and then they will send $9.775M after which it will be a 10 year loan at 4% with interest only payments. Seems too good to be true.

        @shaan, who is your rep?

      5. i have been contacted by a rep from Taqaseem offering me loan services. Although have not been asked for any fee , i am suspecting something is missing here. so my question is has anyone collaborated with them successfully?

      6. I have successfully secured funding from Taqaseem Funding. They have a solid reputation and positive reviews from previous collaborators. I encourage you to reach out to their representatives directly to discuss any concerns you may have.

        Remember to conduct your own research and exercise caution when entering into financial agreements.

        Feel free to contact me for more information.

      7. Alex agreed to be put in contact with the people that previously left a comment on this thread, but now emails are bouncing back as his mailbox is disabled (error 554.30)

      8. Does anyone has an update from this? I saw Alex saying this was legit. I got approach by them too. I am talking to their Chief Investment Officer but I still don’t know if they are real or a scam.

    4. Pasha, this is scam. We did significant due diligence. We requested two references. We were only able to get a hold of one. Both websites provides were built on the same day. We spoke with a attorney in Bahrain and this company is not legally licensed to lend money. Hope this helps.

      1. Hello Paul,

        Thank you for this comment.

        Let me know if you woudl like ot connect off the thread and discuss this further.

  2. Has there been anyone that you know of that actually had been successfully funded by United Investment venture corporation? Going there to finish the transaction reminded me of a place that offered me the same. Even after I had a security officer that worked for the government I guess started to shut them down I still played along “I’m excited to do this transaction with you. Can you arrange a tour of the desert when I arrive after my bank visit?” “Oh, it would be our pleasure to take you to the desert…”. 😳🤣 (so you want me to dig a hole with this shovel for buried treasure? I just don’t see it. Keep digging? Ok…). I taught myself a lot and learned a lot from scammers in to “dream killers”. If something sounds too good…

  3. One to add to the list of scammers:


    Mainly use LinkedIn and dozens of sock puppet cut-out characters – who are clearly not in any way like their profile bios once they start talking to you on Messenger.

    “Offering 2.5% interest loans and other investment and financial investment options” – it’s all bullshit buzzword-driven garbage. They’re not smart – they’re lazy crooks. Read through anything they send you carefully – it is not in any universe from a bank, broker or lender.

    1. Hi Mannie, thanks for sharing this with the community.
      We want to offer a space where these things are discussed. At the same time we don’t know the specific company you mentioned and we will offer the company in question a chance to reply, should they reach out to us wishing to do so.

  4. My father has met a 32 yr old women online. He’s almost 80. All he will tell me is that he’s going to Dubai to get gold and diamonds. Apparently this person has sent him a certificate showing there’s gold and diamonds there. She wants him to go get the gold in dubai. He selling a house and buying one for the both of them. He’s never met her in person. She post new Instagram videos everyday and say her name is nurse Karlie. He says her name is Mary. She’s told him her ex husband has posted all these different names and photos. He’s lost in love. I know this is to hood to be true. How can I prove it to him?

  5. I am being approached by alwifaq financing who supposedly provide funding for real estate in usa. Sounds too good to be tru? What are your thoughts? Thanks

    1. Hi Alex, I’m not sure, we never worked with them: there are plenty of legitimate investors out there! I wouldn’t want to preclude potential opportunities… But, at the same time, I would suggest you to always keep an eye open for some of the tactics that scammers normally use – e.g. using urgency and other marketing tools (have a look at this article for some examples: https://matters2.com/investment-scams-five-red-flags-to-look-for/). So, don’t rule out a positive outcome but be cautious… And, well, if they ask for money you’ll know for sure.

  6. Got the same scam; we would like to give you a (very temptating) loan. Only please send us $19K to create a “Special vehicle” company in the UAE.
    When we suggested that we will create that company, he insisted that they will do it with their lawyer ..

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