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VBS Mutual Bank faces bribery claims; Bank of Israel governor to step down

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VBS Mutual Bank faces bribery claims; Bank of Israel governor to step down

GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL

* Abu Dhabi Financial Group CEO Jassim al-Seddiqi told Al Arabiya TV that the company has submitted an offer to acquire funds managed by Abraaj Group Ltd., Argaam reported.

* Bahrain Islamic Bank BSC appointed Mazar Rashid Jalal its new general manager in charge of the compliance and governance department.

* A.M. Best affirmed Bahrain Kuwait Insurance Co. BSC's A- (Excellent) financial strength rating and "a-" long-term issuer credit rating, with stable outlooks.

* A.M. Best affirmed Gulf Insurance Group KSCP's and unit Gulf Insurance & Re-insurance Co. KSC's A (Excellent) financial strength ratings and "a" long-term issuer credit ratings, with stable outlooks.

REST OF MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

* Bank of Israel Governor Karnit Flug will not seek an additional term after her five-year tenure ends Nov. 12, the central bank said. Meanwhile, the central bank is expected to keep its short-term interest rates unchanged at 0.1% at today's policy meeting, according to a Reuters poll.

* A.M. Best affirmed the B++ (Good) financial strength ratings as well as the "bbb" long-term issuer credit ratings of Jordan-based Arab Orient Insurance Co. and Egypt-based Arab Misr Insurance Group Co. SAE. The outlook on Arab Orient Insurance's ratings remains negative, while that on Arab Misr Insurance Group Co. remains stable.

* The IMF greenlighted the disbursement of a $250 million tranche to Tunisia as part of the country's four-year loan program, Reuters reported. The tranche, the fourth under the program, brings total disbursements to the North African nation to around $1.14 billion.

EAST AND WEST AFRICA

* SBM Holdings Ltd. unit SBM Bank (Kenya) Ltd. has commenced the acquisition of Chase Bank (Kenya) Ltd., following receipt of approvals from the Central Bank of Kenya and the country's Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury. The acquisition and assumption process will be completed Aug. 17.

* Femi Adewole, managing director of Company for Habitat and Housing in Africa, or Shelter Afrique, has left the troubled mortgage lender after a one-year term, Business Daily Africa reported. A new managing director will be announced at the company's annual general meeting on July 26.

* GCB Bank Ltd.'s shareholders approved the transfer of 400 million Ghanaian cedis to the bank's stated capital from its income surplus to allow the lender to meet the Bank of Ghana's new minimum capital requirement for commercial banks of 400 million cedis ahead of the Dec. 31 deadline, Ghana Business News reported. The move brings GCB Bank's total stated capital to 500 million cedis.

* Fitch Ratings affirmed Cape Verde's long- and short-term foreign- and local- issuer default ratings at B/B and its country ceiling at B+, with stable outlooks on the long-term ratings.

* French telecommunications company Orange SA's plan to provide mobile banking activities in Nigeria is being held back by a central bank regulation prohibiting nonfinancial companies from providing financial services in the country, insiders told Business Day. The central bank, however, is said to be mulling options to revise the law.

CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA

* VBS Mutual Bank paid 5 million South African rand as a bribe to a senior executive at the Public Investment Corp. (SOC) Ltd. in exchange for speeding up funding support for the bank, South Africa's Sunday Times reported, citing an affidavit by the collapsed lender's former head of treasury, Phophi Mukhodobwane. South Africa's Democratic Alliance political party urged police to probe the bribery and corruption allegations at the bank.

* Meanwhile, VBS' administrator has filed an urgent application with South Africa's High Court for Vele Investments, one of the bank's major shareholders, to be placed into liquidation, CNBC Africa reported. The administrator, audit firm SizweNtsalubaGobodo, has also requested to sequester the assets of several former executives of the bank, including Mukhodobwane and former CEO Andile Ramavhunga.

* Angola's central bank withdrew its authorization for Ecobank Angola SA to launch operations in the country as it failed to renew its license to open a branch, Novo Jornal and Jornal de Angola reported.

* Nine of the 29 commercial banks in Angola need a total of 50.3 billion kwanzas in fresh capital in order to meet new solvency requirements set out by the central bank, Expansão reported. Under the new requirements, banks must have a share capital of at least 7.5 billion kwanzas beginning next year.

* The IMF approved the disbursement of roughly $77.8 million to Cameroon as part of its three-year extended credit facility.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Asia-Pacific: New Zealand to tighten capital adequacy rules; Indian bank to sell sour debt

Deza Mones, Henni Abdelghani, Sophie Davies and Helen Popper contributed to this report.

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