Qatar is asking U.S. regulators to look into the U.S. subsidiary of the largest bank in the United Arab Emirates, saying it has engaged in fake foreign exchange deals in an attempt to hurt Qatar’s economy.
According to Reuters, the Central Bank of Qatar’s law firm sent a letter to the U.S. Treasury requesting an investigation into NBAD Americas, the U.S. subsidiary of First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB). The bank, which was created from last year’s merger of First Gulf Bank and National Bank of Abu Dhabi, is majority state-owned.
And in a second letter, lawyers asked the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to examine if there has been a manipulation of Qatar’s currency, the riyal.
“We believe NBAD has participated in an extraordinary and unlawful scheme to wage financial warfare against Qatar, including through the manipulation of Qatari currency and securities markets,” said the letter to the U.S. Treasury. “These actions should be halted immediately, and we ask that you investigate whether NBAD has directly or indirectly supported the manipulation of Qatar’s markets, including through NBAD America’s dollar-clearing or correspondent banking services in the United States.”
FAB did not respond to questions about the allegations.
“As the UAE’s largest bank and one of the world’s largest and safest financial institutions, First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) works closely with all of its regulators in the markets in which it operates to sustain and uphold the high standards of governance and regulatory compliance across the group,” it said.
The UAE government, the U.S. Treasury and CFTC all failed to respond to requests for comment.
Back in June, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain ordered an economic boycott on Qatar after accusing the country of supporting Islamist militants and Iran. Qatar has denied the allegations, and said that the boycott is a punishment for its independent policies.
In December, Qatar started its own investigation into possible manipulation of its markets by these countries. And the Qatari central bank has already accused unnamed banks of trying to manipulate the riyal by trading it between themselves offshore at artificially weak levels so that Qatar’s economy looked to be failing.