The Key Man: The True Story of How the Global Elite Was Duped by a Capitalist Fairy Tale

Simon Clark and Will Louch. Harper Business, $29.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-06299-621-3
Wall Street Journal reporter Clark and his former colleague Louch debut with a riveting chronicle of the meteoric rise and scandalous fall of the Dubai private equity firm Abraaj and its conniving founder, Arif Naqvi. The authors write that Naqvi’s obsession “with status, power, and control” was, for a long time, hidden by ostentatious philanthropy, and politicians and fellow businesspeople (among them John Kerry and Bill Gates) fell for his pitch. At its height, Abraaj managed nearly $14 billion and owned stakes in 100 companies globally, and Naqvi won an Oslo Business for Peace Award. But in 2018, Clark and Louch received an email from a whistleblower outlining Naqvi’s exploits (attempting to bribe Pakistan’s prime minister, for instance). They turned it into a Wall Street Journal article, and within six months Naqvi was arrested for operating a criminal organization. The authors detail how, for years, Naqvi misused his company’s money to cover losses and pay for his extravagant lifestyle, which included lavish parties and a 154-foot superyacht. The narrative moves at a fast clip, and extensive interviews with former Abraaj employees strengthen the shock of Naqvi’s “masterful performance.” This deeply reported tale captivates. Agent: Eric Lupfer, Fletcher & Co. (July)
Reviewed on : 04/19/2021
Release date: 07/06/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 352 pages - 978-0-06-299623-7
Book - 978-0-06-299622-0
Compact Disc - 978-1-6650-9896-0
MP3 CD - 978-1-6650-9897-7
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Audio book sample courtesy of HarperAudio
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