Abnet Gebremeskel, a long-time confidant-turn-adversary of Mohammed Ali Al-Amoudi (Sheihk), has been arrested by the federal police in a move that seems part of a broader probe into his investment activities. People familiar with the case disclosed he was arrested on Thursday, October 5, 2023, from his home on General Wingate St., in the Piazza area. He was taken to the Federal Crime Investigation Bureau, near Mexico Square, where he remains under custody, these sources disclosed.

MIDROC-Ethiopia, a conglomerate with diversified portfolios spanning several sectors, had seen Abnet at its helm until his removal two years ago. His post-MIDROC period has been foregrounded by a series of legal wranglings with his benefactor, the Saudi billionaire, Al-Amoudi. The genesis of their legal battle goes back to a property on Africa Avenue (Bole Road) and an oil company. Abnet had filed a lawsuit against Al-Amoudi, claiming a staggering 640 million Br over what he alleged as the under-capitalisation of his 40pc shareholding in Bole Towers Plc. In a countermove that seemed to epitomise their deteriorating relationship, Al-Amoudi’s lawyers had initiated another lawsuit claiming dividend distributions from the National Oil Company (Ethiopia). Abnet holds a minority stake in this company, alongside Tadesse Tilahun, the founding CEO.

People familiar with the situation have disclosed that Abnet, an American citizen, has faced restrictions on international travel, hinting at the gravity of the ongoing probe by federal investigators. However, in this highly charged atmosphere, Abnet's lawyers and families remain silent, despite Fortune’s repeated attempts to solicit statements. No official statement has been given on his arrest, leaving many in the business community and the broader public speculating about the nature and implications of the investigation.

PUBLISHED ON Oct 07,2023 [ VOL 24 , NO 1223]

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