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Abraaj's woes continue; Japanese banks halt Iranian transactions

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Abraaj's woes continue; Japanese banks halt Iranian transactions

* The U.S. and the United Arab Emirates have jointly disrupted in May a currency exchange network transferring illicit funds to Iran, Reuters reported, citing a senior official at the U.S. Treasury. The network, which forged documents and concealed its transactions behind front and shell firms, was directed by senior officials at Iran's central bank and had used the UAE financial system to shift funds, the official added.

* Japanese lenders Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. and Mizuho Financial Group Inc. will stop handling Iran-related transactions later this year to meet a Nov. 4 deadline set by the U.S. for compliance with its renewed sanctions against the Middle Eastern nation. Meanwhile, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. told Reuters that it will carefully consider its response based on U.S. sanctions and in compliance with the law.

* African Export-Import Bank has launched an electronic platform that aims to provide information on investment and trade opportunities in Africa, as well as help reduce money laundering across the region, according to Ahram Online.

GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL

* Abraaj Group Ltd. liquidator PricewaterhouseCoopers said it found unusual borrowing practices by the embattled firm amounting to $1 billion of defaulted debt, The Wall Street Journal reported. In a report prepared for the Cayman Islands grand court, PwC noted that it was unable to find key financial statements or management accounts for Abraaj's holding company, describing the situation as "highly irregular." The PwC report also showed that Abraaj booked a loss of $188 million at the end of March, Bloomberg News noted.

* Meanwhile, some investors have demanded a review of Abraaj's handling of funds before agreeing to the group's planned sale of certain assets to Colony Capital Inc., Reuters wrote, citing the PwC report.

* Commercial Bank of Dubai PSC and Mashreq Bank have disclosed exposures to Abraaj of roughly $166.3 million and $178 million, respectively, through secured credit facilities.

* Emirates NBD Bank PJSC signed a memorandum of understanding with the Sharjah Economic Development Department to provide digital services to investors and promote the development of the emirate's economy, CPI Financial wrote, citing state news agency WAM.

* Takaful Emarat - Insurance (PSC) obtained final approval from the UAE Insurance Authority to acquire all the shares of Al Hilal Takaful PSC.

* U.K.-based RSA Insurance Group PLC appointed Chris Riley senior executive officer for its operation in the Dubai International Financial Centre.

REST OF MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

* UAE-based First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC agreed to sell National Bank of Abu Dhabi's Jordan operations to Société Générale de Banque – Jordanie, Khaleej Times wrote. The transaction, which has already received approval from Jordan's central bank, will be completed in the coming months.

EAST AND WEST AFRICA

* Bank of Uganda Deputy Governor Louis Kasekende told Bloomberg that the central bank could consider hiking its record-low policy rate on expectations that inflation could be bottoming out. He added that most of the country's banks are meeting their capital requirements and that bad loans as a percentage of total credit has improved to roughly 5%.

* Pension fund manager Zamara launched an equity index that will track stocks listed on the Nairobi Stock Exchange, taking into account the stocks' price changes and dividend income, Business Daily Africa reported.

* Ghana's Association of Microfinance Companies is in talks with the Bank of Ghana to extend the deadline for meeting its 2 million Ghanaian cedis minimum capital requirement, which expired in June, Joy Online wrote.

* Coronation Merchant Bank Ltd.'s board named Banjo Adegbohungbe an executive director and as COO, The Nation noted.

CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA

* Old Mutual Ltd. appointed Deloitte as joint auditor alongside KPMG, citing "ongoing challenges" related to its scandal-hit longstanding auditor, Reuters reported.

* The South African government has filed a court bid to sequester the personal assets of VBS Mutual Bank executives accused of taking part in a fraud scheme to steal more than 1.5 billion South African rand from the lender, Independent Online reported. Meanwhile, Robert Madzonga, CEO of VBS holding company Vele Investments, said he will defend himself against allegations that he was involved in looting the lender, Business Day wrote.

* African Export-Import Bank and the Banque de Développement des Etats de l'Afrique Centrale made a €500 million co-financing agreement to help support projects in the Economic Community of Central African States, Financial Afrik reported.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Asia-Pacific: Deutsche Bank wins China bond license; Samsung asset manager delays M&A deal

Europe: UK abandons 'mutual recognition'; Danske compliance head leaves

Latin America: Banrisul share sale under investigation; Banco Interfinanzas ownership shakeup

North America: Greater Hudson Bank, ConnectOne to merge; City Holding to buy 2 Ky. banks

Global Insurance: Advent-Brit merger; Lloyd's Beale not done yet; PG&E plans wildfire cat bond

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

The Daily Dose Middle East and Africa has an editorial deadline of 5 a.m. London time. Some external links may require a subscription. Links are current as of publication time, and we are not responsible if those links are unavailable later.