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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 September 2018

UAE lender FAB denies Qatari allegations of currency manipulation

Doha injected $43 billion into banking system last year as deposits slumped

First Abu Dhabi Bank, the UAE’s largest lender has seen its shares gain 36.59 per cent year-to-date on the index. Chris Whiteoak / The National
First Abu Dhabi Bank, the UAE’s largest lender has seen its shares gain 36.59 per cent year-to-date on the index. Chris Whiteoak / The National

First Abu Dhabi Bank, the UAE’s biggest lender by assets, denied a media report stating allegations by Qatar that it attempted to undermine the country’s currency in a bid to harm its economy, as Doha’s standoff with neighbouring states continues.

“We are surprised to read news reports containing rumours, alleging that First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) conducted transactions with the intent to manipulate the Qatari riyal,” the bank said in a statement on Monday.

“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 Reuters news agency reported on Monday that Qatar accused FAB’s US subsidiary NBAD Americas of attempting to undermine its currency, accusing the bank of “financial warfare”.

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Qatar’s central bank previously accused banks – which it declined to name - of attempting to manipulate the riyal by trading it between themselves offshore at artificially weak levels.

"FAB maintains strong working relationships with regulators across the globe and continually engages in constructive dialogue to ensure full compliance with the latest legal and regulatory requirements," the bank said.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic, trade and travel ties with Qatar last June over its support for terrorist groups and attempts to undermine their regional policies and domestic affairs.

Qatar has been undertaking a series of measures to shore up its economy, which is suffering from the ­boycott that has deprived it of its only land border crossing, key air routes and access to the Gulf’s main ports.

Rating agency S&P last month said the country was forced to inject about $43 billion into its banking system last year, as the crisis provoked an outflow of around $22bn worth of deposits from both regional and international investors.

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