UAE responds to Qatar claims it has been involved in ‘financial warfare’

The Central Bank of Qatar’s law firm has written a letter to the US Treasury asking it to investigate NBAD Americas, the US subsidiary of First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) (Shutterstock)
Updated 19 March 2018
0

UAE responds to Qatar claims it has been involved in ‘financial warfare’

LONDON: First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) has “categorically” rejected claims that the bank was involved in transactions aimed at manipulating the Qatari riyal.
The bank’s denial followed reports that Qatar had asked US regulators to investigate the UAE bank’s US subsidiary, NBAD Americas, claiming that the bank was using ‘bogus’ foreign exchange deals to damage the Qatari economy, according to reports published by Reuters.
“FAB conducts its business in accordance with the highest professional standards and complies with the laws and regulations of the jurisdictions in which it operates. FAB categorically refutes these rumours,” the bank said in a filing to the Abu Dhabi bourse on Monday.
The Abu Dhabi-headquartered FAB was established last year following the merger of First Gulf Bank and National Bank of Abu Dhabi. 
According to Reuters, the law firm representing the Central Bank of Qatar wrote to the US Treasury requesting an investigation into FAB’s subsidiary, according to a letter dated Feb 26. and seen by the news agency.
Lawyers also asked in a separate letter that the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) investigate possible currency manipulation, Reuters said.
The call for an investigation comes as the UAE, as well as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain continue to be embroiled in a diplomatic rift with Qatar that started mid-last year.
The Saudi-led coalition of Arab states imposed an economic boycott on Qatar on June 5, alleging that the country was supporting Islamic extremism in the region and Iran. Qatar has denied these accusations.
Last December, the Central Bank of Qatar announced that it would begin an investigation into attempts to harm the Qatari economy through manipulation of the currency, securities and derivatives markets.
“We know blockading countries and their agents are attempting to manipulate and undermine our currency, securities and derivatives, as part of a coordinated strategy to damage Qatar’s economy.
“We will not stand by while our country is attacked in this manner,” said governor of the bank, Sheikh Abdulla Bin Saoud Al-Thani in statement. 
The Central Bank confirmed that it had asked the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison to lead the investigation, according to the same statement.
The New York-headquartered law firm did not immediately respond to Arab News requests for comments. 
The US Treasury and the CFTC has not replied to Arab News requests for comment. The Qatari government did not immediately respond to requests for comment.


Head of Saudi Arabia’s SRC: ‘Ask banks for a mortgage, and we will refinance it’

Updated 25 April 2019
0

Head of Saudi Arabia’s SRC: ‘Ask banks for a mortgage, and we will refinance it’

  • SRC CEO Fabrice Susini: One of our key objectives is to ensure that the banks are extending loans to more and more people
  • Extending home-ownership is one of the cornerstones of the Vision 2030 strategy to diversify the economy away from oil production

RIYADH: The head of the state-owned Saudi Real Estate Refinance Company (SRC) has made an unprecedented offer to the Kingdom’s home-seekers to underwrite future mortgages.
Speaking at the Financial Sector Conference in Riyadh, Fabrice Susini, SRC CEO, told the audience: “Ask them (the banks) for a mortgage, and we will refinance it.”
Although Susini later clarified his remarks to show that he still expected normal standards of mortgage applications to be met, the on-stage show of bravado illustrates SRC’s commitment to facilitate home-ownership in the Kingdom.
“Obviously if you have no revenue, no income, poor credit history, that will not apply. Now if you have a job, it is different. We have people in senior positions at big foreign banks that could not get a mortgage,” he explained.
He said that Saudi banks have traditionally assessed mortgages on the basis of “flow stability” of earnings. Government employees, or those of big corporations like Saudi Aramco and SABIC, found it easy to get mortgages “because you were there for life.”
“One of our key objectives is to ensure that the banks are extending loans to more and more people. The government is pushing for entrepreneurship, private development, private jobs. If you work in the private sector and cannot get a mortgage the next thing you will do is go to the government for a job,” Susini said.
Extending home-ownership is one of the cornerstones of the Vision 2030 strategy to diversify the economy away from oil production. Saudi Arabia has one of the lowest rates of mortgage penetration of any G20 country — in single digit percentages, compared with others at up to 50 percent.