BBC to release Arif Naqvi documentary in 2023

The hourlong special will explore the life and career of The Abraaj Group founder

Lubna Hamdan 1 Min Read 2 Min Audio

The BBC is releasing a documentary exploring the life of The Abraaj Group founder and former CEO Arif Naqvi, Frankly understands.

The hourlong special, which will broadcast on the BBC in Q1 next year, focuses on Naqvi’s life before and after the liquidation of the private equity giant, which at its peak managed $14 billion in assets. 

It collapsed into insolvency in 2018 after investors including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation accused the company of misusing funds in a $1bn healthcare fund.

Naqvi, who is currently under house arrest in London, faces extradition to the US, where he would stand trial for 16 counts of fraud and money laundering. He denies wrongdoing.

The BBC documentary, which will be narrated by the characters interviewed instead of by a presenter, will focus on Naqvi’s personal career, as well as his impact on private equity, and the significance of impact investing.

It seeks to explore the circumstances that led to the fall of Abraaj, as well as the consequences of its fall in the world of impact investing and private equity. 

It is produced and directed by Victoria James, who worked on series including Britain’s Coronavirus Catastrophe and Vaccine Wars.

Arif Naqvi set up Abraaj in 2002 and turned it into one of the world’s top 20 private equity companies. It was the leading investor in growth markets such as the Middle East, with investments in healthcare, clean energy, real estate and more. He preached that investors could make profit while doing good. 

The former CEO is currently allowed just 2 hours of outdoor time a day, except for weekends, when he is confined to his London apartment.