February 27, 2020 / 8:35 AM / in a month

UK's financial watchdog to investigate NMC Health

(Reuters) - Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) will investigate NMC Health (NMC.L), the UAE healthcare company said on Thursday, after trading in its shares on the London stock exchange was suspended.

The news of the investigation comes the day after NMC removed its chief executive and placed its finance chief on extended sick leave following its own ongoing investigation into its finances.

NMC, part of the FTSE 100 index of leading shares, said it would cooperate with the FCA and any other relevant authorities. It had earlier said it was focused on providing clarity to the market as to its financial position.

Abu-Dhabi based NMC’s shares have lost about two thirds of their value since U.S.-based short-seller Muddy Waters first questioned its financial statements in December of last year. NMC’s own review is being led by former FBI boss Louis Freeh.

The company’s troubles have also been compounded by doubts over the size of shareholdings of major investors, including founder and former co-chair BR Shetty and former vice-chairman Khaleefa Butti Omair Yousif Ahmed Al Muhairi. These issues are also being looked into under a separate legal review.

Muhairi on Thursday denied any wrongdoing and said that he was looking into allegations involving him that related to supply chain financing arrangements at NMC, as disclosed by the company in its update late on Wednesday.

“I have not been given a reasonable opportunity to engage with and assist the (NMC) investigation with the benefit of the key documentation relating to the events in question, as I would have wished,” he said in a statement.

Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka and Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru, Saeed Azhar in Dubai; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi and Keith Weir

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