Friday, 28 May 2010
The Justice Department asked a federal court to halt a civil lawsuit filed against Japanese commodities-trading giant Sojitz Group, citing the government's own criminal bribery probe.
The lawsuit was filed in December by Bahrain's state-owned aluminum producer, Aluminum Bahrain BSC, known as Alba. The lawsuit alleged Sojitz paid Alba employees nearly $15 million in bribes over 13 years to gain discounts on aluminum prices.
Justice Department lawyers, in a filing made in U.S. District Court in Houston, said the lawsuit should be stayed "pending resolution of a parallel criminal investigation and any resulting criminal prosecution against the defendants."
Investors in the Gulf countries are looking to significantly increase their exposure to emerging markets, according to a survey by UK investment company Invesco Perpetual.
Some 82% of respondents forecast they would invest in emerging markets over the next three to five years. This compared to just 30% for North America, 14% for Europe and 8% for Japan.
Invesco said Gulf investors were shunning developed markets because they expected emerging markets to yield higher returns.
Dubai International Capital (DIC), the private equity unit of flagship conglomerate Dubai Holding, is seeking a three-month debt delay, in the latest blow to the emirate's financial image. The investment unit has a $1.25bn (£864m) loan maturing in June.
"Dubai International Capital and a co-ordinating committee of banks today presented to lenders a request for a three-month extension to 30 September 2010 of certain maturities," the company said in a statement.
Earlier in May, Dubai World, another state-owned conglomerate, reached a deal to restructure $23.5bn in debt with its core lenders, addressing the most immediate of a string of problems facing investors in Dubai.
"DIC is a little opaque. There's a lot of need for more capital in the system, and Dubai World was not the end of the game," said Robert McKinnon, ASAS Capital chief investment officer. "We will probably see more restructuring of Dubai entities, but on a smaller scale than Dubai World, and I don't think this announcement will be a catalyst for a new market crash."