CEO confirms Credit Suisse seeking Saudi banking license

Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam personally traveled to Saudi Arabia to apply for a banking license. (Reuters)
Updated 31 July 2018
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CEO confirms Credit Suisse seeking Saudi banking license

  • Originally won banking license in April
  • CEO made trip to make application in person

LONDON: Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam personally traveled to Saudi Arabia to apply for a banking license, he said on Tuesday, confirming Reuters information the Swiss bank is seeking a full banking license in the Middle East’s biggest economy.

“I have been to Riyadh, I met the head of SAMA (the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority), I made the application myself,” Thiam said in response to a query during the bank’s second-quarter news conference.

An increasing number of western banks and fund managers are looking to expand in the Kingdom since the government unveiled a transformation plan aimed at privatising vast swathes of the economy.

Citigroup got a Saudi investment banking license in April, which will allow it to return to the Kingdom after more than 13 years, while Goldman Sachs received approval last August to trade equities in Saudi Arabia.

Credit Suisse has been growing its team in Saudi Arabia and the UAE over the past year or so, with bankers added within wealth management, private banking and investment banking, according to LinkedIn.

However, Qatar Investment Authority owns a 4.94 percent stake in Credit Suisse and bankers had said in the past that the Swiss bank’s close ties with Doha could pose a risk for winning more Saudi business.

The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt imposed a boycott on Qatar in June 2017, severing diplomatic and transport ties and accusing it of supporting terrorism, which it denies.

Thiam on Tuesday denied facing any issues in the Kingdom related to the these ties.

“I can most categorically deny” that there have been delays or issues in the application process, he said. “There is no issue for Credit Suisse in Saudi Arabia.”


India suspends Kashmir border trade with Pakistan

Updated 19 April 2019
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India suspends Kashmir border trade with Pakistan

  • Kashmir has been on edge since a February suicide attack that killed 40 Indian paramilitaries
  • India said it had reports that trade on the border was being “misused by Pakistan-based elements for funnelling illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency”

NEW DELHI: India has suspended trade across its disputed Kashmir border with Pakistan, alleging that weapons and drugs are being smuggled across the route, as tensions simmer between the nuclear-armed neighbors.
Kashmir has been on edge since a February suicide attack that killed 40 Indian paramilitaries and brought the two countries to the brink of war with cross-border air strikes.
On Thursday, India’s government, which is in the middle of a tough national election, said it had reports that trade on the border was being “misused by Pakistan-based elements for funnelling illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency.”
It also said many of those trading across the Line of Control, which divides Kashmir into zones under Indian and Pakistani control, had links to militant organizations.
The home ministry said trade would be suspended until a stricter inspection mechanism is in place.
The cross-border trade is based on a barter system, with traders exchanging goods including chillies, cumin, mango and dried fruit.
It began in 2008 as a way to improve strained relations between New Delhi and Islamabad, who have fought two of their three wars over the disputed region.
The Indian Express newspaper said Friday that 35 trucks carrying fruit traveling from the Indian side of the border had been stopped after the government order.
Trade on the border has been suspended before, including in 2015, when India accused a Pakistani driver of drug trafficking.
The latest move comes after India withdrew “Most Favoured Nation Status” — covering trade links — from Pakistan after the February attack, which was claimed by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed Islamist group.
Islamabad has denied any involvement in the attack.
India’s Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made national security a key plank of his re-election campaign, pointing to the recent flare-up of violence as he battles the center-left opposition Congress party.
He is seeking a second term from the country’s 900 million voters in the mammoth election which kicked off on April 11 and runs till May 19. The results will be out on May 23.