First Abu Dhabi Bank
Branch of FAB in UAE Image Credit: Gulf News archives

Dubai: First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) said on Wednesday it will permanently close its branch in Qatar’s financial centre, having already notified Qatari authorities that it will relinquish that branch’s licence.

FAB said its decision comes after “many months of baseless actions by the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority that have made it impossible for FAB’s operations to continue in Qatar.”

The bank said that the Qatari authority alleged that FAB conducted transactions meant to manipulate the riyal.

“These allegations are entirely false and FAB unequivocally denies them,” the bank said in a statement. “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.”

It added that it made efforts to resolve the matter with the Authority, but then realised that “no solution is attainable.” FAB said it was left with no choices but to close its business in the Qatar Financial Centre.

With regards to customers of the branch, FAB said it will safeguard their rights by having “an orderly wind-down” of the branches operations, also noting it has put measures to protect employees of the branch.

FAB said the closing down of the branch will have not have “any material impact” of the group’s performance and strategy, and that the branch in Qatar contributed less than 0.03 per cent of the bank’s profits in 2018.