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
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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.


Mideast plays key role in Chinese export of armed drones, report says

Updated 8 min 26 sec ago
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Mideast plays key role in Chinese export of armed drones, report says

  • China has exploited America’s selective drone export policy to become an increasingly influential player in meeting demand
  • The report is entitled “Armed Drones in the Middle East: Proliferation and Norms in the Region”

BEIRUT: The use of armed drones in the Middle East, driven largely by sales from China, has grown significantly in the past few years with an increasing number of countries and other parties using them in regional conflicts to lethal effects, a new report said Monday.
The report by the Royal United Services Institute, or RUSI, found that more and more Mideast countries have acquired armed drones, either by importing them, such as Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, or by building them domestically like Israel, Iran and Turkey.
China has won sales in the Middle East and elsewhere by offering drones — otherwise known as UAVs or unmanned aerial vehicles — at lower prices and without the political conditions attached by the United States.
The report , entitled “Armed Drones in the Middle East: Proliferation and Norms in the Region,” said that by capitalizing on the gap in the market over the past few years, Beijing has supplied armed drones to several countries that are not authorized to purchase them from the US, and at a dramatically cheaper price.
“China, a no-questions-asked exporter of drones, has played and is likely to continue playing a key role as a supplier of armed UAVs to the Middle East,” it said.
The report explored where and how each of the states have used their armed drones and whether they have changed the way these countries approach air power. It found that Iran, the UAE and Turkey all changed the way they employ airpower after they acquired armed drones.
For Turkey and the UAE, armed drones enabled them to conduct strikes in situations where they would not have risked using conventional aircraft, it said. Iran developed armed drones from the outset specifically to enable to project power beyond the reach of its air force, which is hamstrung by obsolete aircraft and sanctions, the report added.
The report said it remains to be seen whether and how the loosening of restrictions on the exportation of armed drones by the Trump administration will alter dynamics in the region.
“Nonetheless, proliferation in armed UAVs in the Middle East is unlikely to stop and could, in fact, even accelerate,” the report said.