Aussie restructuring consultant detained in the Emirates

01 February 2024 Consultancy.com.au 3 min. read
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Australian restructuring expert Guy Wall, currently based in the Middle East with global consultancy Alvarez & Marsal, was recently detained by police in the UAE, although the full details remain sketchy.

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has said it has been providing assistance to Australian national Guy Wall who was briefly imprisoned in the United Arab Emirates earlier this month while working on a restructuring assignment as a managing director of global consultancy Alvarez & Marsal out of Dubai, although the full details of his detainment remain unclear.

Previously, Wall served as a consultant with Big Four firm Deloitte in Canberra.

Aussie restructuring consultant detained in the Emirates

According to reports, Wall and Cayman Islands-based colleague and fellow Australian Alexander Lawson were appointed in November to oversee the liquidation of BPGIC, the holding entity of fuel storage and services company Brooge Energy, which together with two executives was later hit with SEC fraud charges over alleged revenue inflation and the creation of false invoices.

Another Australian, Brooge CFO Paul Ditchburn, wasn’t involved in the matter.

Meanwhile, sources of the Financial Times told the publication that Wall had subsequently been accused of attempting to remove documents from Brooge’s offices without authorisation and held in prison in the UAE port city of Fujairah for an unspecified period before later being released. Yet, little has been revealed since, with a local police representative stating they couldn’t share personal information and Alvarez & Marsal declining to comment.

While Wall’s current legal status and whether he’s subject to an ongoing investigation remain unclear, DFAT has since confirmed that it has been providing consular assistance, but again, details as to what extent or if the support is continuing aren’t certain. Bryony Hilless, Australia’s Consul-General for Dubai and the Northern Emirates, has been in the job for less than seven months, while new ambassador to the UAE Ridwaan Jadwat took up his post this week.

Adding to the lack of clarity, Wall’s LinkedIn page presently returns a 404, although it’s not known when or why it was pulled. His Alvarez & Marsal bio however remains intact, stating that Wall has amassed more than a decade and a half of experience in insolvency, asset recovery, and crisis stabilisation across the Middle East, Asia, and Australia, including having established the restructuring practice of an unnamed global advisory in the UAE prior to joining the firm.

An accounting and finance graduate of Charles Sturt University and member of CPA Australia, Wall is also credited with having established and managed the first Deloitte restructuring services office in the ACT (while Brooge co-appointee Lawson apparently did the same for Alvarez & Marsal in the Cayman Islands after crossing from KPMG). Of particular note though is some of the high-profile work Wall has performed since being stationed in the Gulf, such as on the Abraaj collapse.

“We welcome Alex and Guy and look forward to leveraging their extensive finance and legal experience,” Ditchburn said upon the pair joining Brooge’s board, with Lawson adding; “Guy and I wish to confirm that our appointment as liquidators to BPGIC does not directly impact the operations of Brooge, which will continue to provide market-leading services to customers. We look forward to helping drive continued growth and value for Brooge and its stakeholders.”