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Friday, 30 November 2012

Kabul Bank Bailout: The Bust That Nearly Took Down Afghanistan |

The lights blinked on and off in the newly remodeled basement of the Shah Bobo Jan Palace on the grounds of the Afghan Academy of Science, and then they finally died out. At the podium, the translator joked that if Kabul Bank, Afghanistan‘s largest private bank, had not needed to be bailed out by the government, the money could have been used to rebuild andrestore the city’s power grid.

Drawing a similar conclusion, a report on the Kabul Bank crisis released Wednesday by the Independent Joint Anti-Corruption Monitoring & Evaluation Committee, also revealed new details about how a small group of men profited from fraudulent loans. It called out local authorities for succumbing to political pressure and the international community for not doing enough to stave off the catastrophe which led to a near-complete meltdown of Afghanistan’s banking system in 2010.

US votes to end Iran’s gas-for-gold trade -

The US Senate has voted overwhelmingly to increase sanctions on Iran by focusing on activities such as the country’s “gas for gold” trade with Turkey, even as data indicate the trade is continuing unabated.
The Senate voted by a resounding 94 votes to zero to broaden Iran sanctions from the oil to the natural gas sector among other steps. The measure was appended to the annual defence expenditure authorisation bill, so increasing the likelihood of swift passage.
The move came on a day when Turkish trade data indicated that Ankara continued to export hundreds of millions of dollars in gold every month, a phenomenon the Turkish government itself has linked to purchases of gas from Iran.

Investors lose confidence in Islamic bank IPOs | Oman Observer

The two Islamic banks in Oman — Bank Nizwa and Alizz Islamic Bank — have completed their integration into the Omani banking system. This integration will allow for these banks to operate properly by providing them with a comprehensive organisational framework. Moreover, the new banks will make an important contribution to the local population and the Omani economy, provided they develop and offer attractive and innovative Islamic products and services, along with effective delivery systems.
Last week, I met a certain colleague after a very long time. After we chatted about his future plans, he said: “I’m having serious misgivings about my investments in Bank Nizwa and Alizz Islamic Bank. I made thousands of Omani Rials in investments in either bank on my personal behalf, as well as on my family’s behalf. However, to date I do see any progress by either bank in launching their operations, although one of them did state before the Initial Public Offering (IPO) that it would commence full operations last September.

Saudi alliance boost for Eruma -

Shares in Eruma soared after the Aim-traded counter-terrorism group landed an ally in its bid to break into the lucrative Saudi Arabian market.
Eruma signed up Saudi Technical Support, an infrastructure group, as its “exclusive distribution partner” in the country, which Eruma said would help sales in the region.
Without the support of a Saudi company, it would take “years” to secure contracts in the country, according to Wayne Money, chief executive at the group.

FT Lex: Emerging challenge to oil majors - YouTube

CDC and Qatar Holding to invest in small French businesses | Reuters

French state-owned bank Caisse des Depots and Qatar's sovereign fund Qatar Holding LLC said on Friday they signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to co-invest in small and medium businesses in France.

The partnership will have capital of 300 million euros ($389 million) and invest in companies "engaged in sectors with high growth potential and where both Qatar Holding LLC and Caisse des Depots have common interests," the joint statement said.

Qatar Holding has been one of the most world's most active investors.

BBC News - Saudi Arabia's job creation push

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Bahrain's Gulf Air: chief executive Majali resigns - The Economic Times

Gulf Air's Chief Executive Officer, brought in to restructure the airline's operations in 2009, has resigned, the Bahrain-based firm said in a statement issued late on Thursday.

Samer Majali will remain in his job until the end of 2012. The company did not say who would replace Majali, or give reasons for his resignation.

Bahrain's flag carrier cut its order for Boeing's Dreamliner in November, and revised a deal with Airbus, part of a move to restructure its fleet as it tries to cope with a tough market.