UAE Banking Giant Quits Qatar Amid Regulatory Dispute

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First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), the largest bank in the UAE, has notified the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority that it will relinquish its Qatar Financial Centre branch licence and permanently close its branch.

According to a statement issued by FAB, carried by state news agency WAM, the decision to close its QFC branch follows "many months of baseless actions by the QFCRA that have made it impossible for FAB’s operations to continue in Qatar".

It said the QFCRA alleged that FAB conducted transactions intended to manipulate the Qatari riyal.

"These allegations are entirely false and FAB unequivocally denies them. FAB conducts its business in accordance with the highest professional standards and in full compliance with the laws and regulations of all the jurisdictions in which it operates," the statement said.

It added that FAB made good faith efforts to engage with the QFCRA to resolve the matter, with FAB’s QFC branch providing all relevant and responsive information that it was required to disclose pursuant to QFC law.

Despite this, FAB said it "is clear that no solution is attainable", leading to the business decision to close its QFC branch.

FAB added that it has already put in place appropriate measures to protect all of its QFC branch employees and customers.

The bank said QFCRA’s actions have no impact outside of FAB’s Qatar branch, which contributed less than 0.03 percent of its full year 2018 net profit.

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