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Publisher's Summary

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

Arif Naqvi was charismatic, inspiring, and self-made—all the qualities of a successful business leader. The founder of Abraaj, a Dubai-based private-equity firm, Naqvi 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 $1 billion fund to improve healthcare in poor countries and the UN and Interpol appointed him to boards. As Pope Francis blessed a move to harness capitalism for the good of the poor, Naqvi won the support of Obama's administration and investors, who compared him to Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible.

In 2018, Simon Clark and Will Louch were contacted by an anonymous whistleblower who said Naqvi had swindled investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars and offered bribes to sustain his billionaire lifestyle. Digging into the claims, Clark and Louch uncovered hundreds of documents and exposed the wrongdoing. In April 2019—months after their exposé broke—Naqvi was arrested on charges of fraud and racketeering, and faces up to 291 years in jail. 

Populated by a cast of larger-than-life characters and moving across Asia, Africa, Europe and America, The Key Man is the story of how the global elite was duped by a capitalist fairytale. Clark and Louch shine a light on efforts to clean up global capital flows even as opaque private equity firms amass trillions of dollars and offshore tax havens cast a veil of secrecy which prevents regulators, investors and citizens from understanding what's really going on in the finance industry. 

©2021 Simon Clark and Will Louch (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers

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What listeners say about The Key Man

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  • Overall
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Good but not great

A lot of insinuations without much back up. Core of the story appears to hold however. Would be better without the same platitudes that Arif peddled.

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Great view into private equity in emerging/growth markets - engaging first 50% and last 25% of story

I was surprised by the level of detail and visibility this book provided into private equity in emerging/growth markets. Well-written and the narrator is great!

I felt there were a few chapters after the halfway point that seemed like filler or chances for the authors to “soapbox” a bit and it distracted from the overall flow of the book. All else, great book!

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Best finance book of Tyne year

This is the best book I have read in a long, long time. It is an important read for people in the finance and investments industry.

With the depth of research, the storytelling and the background of all the characters involved, I felt like I was reading a Grisham thriller - shocking that this brazen fraud was all true.

Loved the narration. The perfect voice for this audiobook.

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Exciting

Loved it, exciting, entertaining, inside view of how scrupulous executives siphon off money meant to create a better world for poor and needy.

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3 Stars out of 5

there was not enough news about where the players stand now. where were they arrested and are they jailed when are the trials.. also not enough on the personal side of what they did with the money.