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What to expect

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‘Impeccably researched and sumptuous in its detail… It’s a page-turner’ The Economist

‘This book tells the story brilliantly… Well-paced and cleverly organised. It also draws some devastating conclusions’ The Sunday Times

‘A riveting account of the intertwining of brilliance and greed’ The Business Standard

In this compelling story of greed, chicanery and tarnished idealism, two Wall Street Journal reporters investigate a man who Bill Gates and Western governments entrusted with hundreds of millions of dollars to make profits and end poverty but now stands accused of masterminding one of the biggest, most brazen frauds ever.

Arif Naqvi was charismatic, inspiring and self-made. The founder of the Dubai-based private-equity firm Abraaj, he was the Key Man to the global elite searching for impact investments to make money and do good. He persuaded politicians he could help stabilize the Middle East after 9/11 by providing jobs and guided executives to opportunities in cities they struggled to find on the map. Bill Gates helped him start a billion-dollar fund to improve health care in poor countries, and the UN and Interpol appointed him to boards. Naqvi also won the support of President Obama’s administration and the chief of a British government fund compared him to Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible.

The only problem? In 2019 Arif Naqvi was arrested on charges of fraud and racketeering at Heathrow airport. A British judge has approved his extradition to the US and he faces up to 291 years in jail if found guilty.

With a cast featuring famous billionaires and statesmen moving across Asia, Africa, Europe and America, The Key Man is the story of how the global elite was duped by a capitalist fairy tale. Clark and Louch’s thrilling investigation exposes one of the world’s most audacious scams and shines a light on the hypocrisy, corruption and greed at the heart of the global financial system.

‘An unbelievable true tale of greed, corruption and manipulation among the world’s financial elite’ Harry Markopolos, the Bernie Madoff whistleblower

Critics Review

  • A scorching epilogue… This is tough stuff and this is a tough book that should contribute to much greater scepticism about the bloated financial system

    The Sunday Times
  • Impeccably researched and sumptuous in its detail…It is a page-turner, built around a riveting portrait of the key man of the title. Mr. Naqvi who comes across as a teeming mass of contradictions

    The Economist
  • A pacy and deeply-reported tale

    Financial Times
  • Gripping… The account raises questions over whether ‘impact investing’ and ‘stakeholder capitalism’ are less about poverty alleviation for the world than guilt alleviation for the Davos elite

  • For an astonishing story of how the global economy can be manipulated, read the devastating account in The Key Man

    David Ignatius, Washington Post
  • A riveting account of the intertwining of brilliance and greed… Should be a mandatory read at all schools of journalism and business schools. It’s a rare tour de force from which both can learn

    Business Standard, India

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