Zakat situation: If someone is in debt to me, can relieving him of his debt bit by bit every year count as my Zakat?

I invested a large amount of money in a business and the owner abused the funds. He has since apologised but not returned the funds (he says the funds are lost) and I’m not sure if this is genuine tawbah. In any case, as I’ve now lost a large portion of my savings, if I calculate 2.5% of my wealth and every year take that portion off the amount he owes me, can this be counted as my Zakat, given that the one who is in a debt that he can’t pay off is eligible for Zakat?

Of course, it’s not an ideal situation. I am unsure if it’s ethical as I feel like I’m not ‘paying’ Zakat but reducing my losses?

May Allah bless you.

According to most scholars from all 4 schools of jurisprudence, it is not permissible to wave the debt of someone in lieu of a zakat payment.

And Allah knows best!

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Appreciate the prompt response. Jazaakumullahu Khairan.

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