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$1.6 billion Indian fine drags Etisalat shares down

Markets Update: A 70bn rupee fine on Etisalat DB Telecom India has had an impact on shares of the UAE telecoms operator here in the Emirates - with video.
Etisalat fell to its lowest point in nearly three weeks this morning after it emerged the telecoms giant Indian unit faces a $1.6 billion dollar fine for an alleged foreign exchange scam.
The company fell 0.5 per cent to Dh10.85 on the Abu Dhabi stock exchange as India's Enforcement Directorate, which has authority over foreign exchange fraud and money laundering, imposed a 70bn rupee fine on Etisalat DB Telecom India for various charges that it says violate the Foreign Exchange Management Act 1999, the Press Trust of India reported over the weekend.
In an emailed statement to The National, Etisalat said that “neither Etisalat nor Etisalat DB have received any official communication and is therefore unable to comment at this time”.
Etisalat owns 45 per cent of Etisalat DB.
But volumes were thin on local bourses, with the number of traded shares struggling to breach 10 million.
The Dubai Financial Market General Index slipped 0.1 per cent to 1,556.01 points and the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange General Index retreated 0.2 per cent to 2,708.93 points.
Investors were also focused on earnings announcements from Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which kicked off last week.
This morning, however, Saudi Arabian Fertilizer Company, a unit of Saudi Basic Industries Corporation, said second-quarter profit dropped to 790 million riyals from 907 million riyals a year ago in a surprising announcement for the often profitable company.
Profit fell because of a one-time gain from a land sale in the second quarter of last year, the company said in a statement to the Saudi bourse today.
The shares closed 0.7 per cent to 188.5 Saudi Riyals yesterday.
Companies in Saudi Arabia and Qatar are among the first to report earnings so the markets in both countries are of particular interest and often dictate market movement elsewhere in the Gulf. 

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