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Mizrahi Tefahot will not settle US probe for $342M; Saudi-Canada row escalates

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Mizrahi Tefahot will not settle US probe for $342M; Saudi-Canada row escalates

GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL

* Saudi Arabia's central bank and state pension funds have mandated their overseas fund managers to put their Canadian equities, bonds and cash holdings up for sale "no matter the cost" amid an escalating dispute over Canada's criticism of the arrest of women's rights activists, the Financial Times reported. Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said the Middle Eastern nation is still "considering additional measures" against Canada, according to Reuters.

* Saudi Arabia's Capital Market Authority said its board has approved the instructions on the price stabilisation mechanism for IPOs. The instructions are aimed at regulating the price stabilization activities for shares of newly listed companies and at determining the requirements to be met by price stabilisation managers, their obligations when conducting the price stabilisation mechanism and the exemptions related to the actions taken during the price stabilisation period.

* Fitch Ratings affirmed the long-term issuer default ratings of Saudi Arabia-based Al Rajhi Banking & Investment Corp. and Saudi British Bank at A-, with stable outlooks.

* Investcorp co-CEO Rishi Kapoor said the Bahraini firm aims to carry out its first direct investments in China and India within the next 12 to 18 months, as part of a push to increase its investment focus in Asia, Reuters wrote. The company reported a 4% year-over-year increase in net profit for the year ended June 30 to $125 million.

* Kuwait and Middle East Financial Investment Co. KSCP said Chairman Ahmed Zulficar has resigned and has been replaced by Prakash Mohan.

* Bank Sohar SAOG CFO Pieter de Witt will step down Nov. 5.

* A.M. Best placed under review with negative implications the financial strength rating of B+ (Good) and the long-term issuer credit rating of "bbb-" of Oman Reinsurance Co. SAOC.

REST OF MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

* Mizrahi Tefahot Bank Ltd. rejected the U.S. Department of Justice's proposal that it pay a fine of $342 million to end a tax evasion investigation. The Israeli lender said the proposal did not include any details or calculation of the sum proposed, and that it believed that any "reasonable calculation," based on the alleged conduct of the firm, via its employees, as described by the DOJ, would lead to a fine much lower than the one proposed.

* The Central Bank of Egypt is set to launch the national payment card in the electronic market by the end of the year, Daily News Egypt wrote, citing Ayman Hussein, sub-governor for payment systems and information technology at the central bank. The regulator aims to boost electronic payments to 10% over the next three years from 2% to 3% currently.

* National Bank of Egypt SAE has approved loan applications for roughly 3,000 clients under its 3 billion pound mortgage finance initiative, its head of banking retail risk Karim Soos told Mubasher.

EAST AND WEST AFRICA

* Uganda's Finance State Minister for Planning David Bahati warned banks to keep interest rates within manageable levels or the government will be forced to introduce a law capping rates, Business Daily Africa reported.

* Ghana's National Insurance Commission greenlighted a takeover of Esich Life Assurance by an international company, Citi Business News wrote. The takeover process is set to complete by the end of the month.

CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA

* A debt restructuring proposal presented this month by a group of Mozambican bondholders is unlikely to be accepted by the government of the southern African nation, news website Zitamar reported. The proposal made by the Global Group of Mozambique Bondholders to restructure the country's defaulted $727 million eurobond would give creditors a slice of revenues from future natural gas sales, a possibility that the government has previously rejected.

* President Joseph Kabila will not run for a third term in the Democratic Republic of the Congo's long-delayed elections in December, news outlets including BBC News and the Financial Times covered. The president's ruling coalition has nominated former Interior Minister Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary as its candidate.

* The amount of foreign currency sold to Angola's commercial banks in July fell 7.5% from the same month a year ago to €783.4 million, Expansão reported, citing data from the country's central bank.

* The IMF has postponed for the sixth time a review at board level of the economic situation in the Republic of the Congo, Jeune Afrique said. The country has $9.5 billion debt, including $2 billion owed to international traders Glencore and Trafigura, and hopes for a bailout but an IMF mission to Brazzaville in April noted that the country required "bold and immediate reforms in the area of governance."

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Asia-Pacific: Dai-ichi Life unit to buy Suncorp life business; New Zealand holds cash rate

Europe: UniCredit unfriends Facebook; Munich Re, ABN Amro report Q2 earnings

Latin America: BTG Pactual's Q2 profit jumps 13.6%; Argentina holds key rate

North America: Regulators plan global sandbox; Goldman Sachs probed over 1MDB scandal

Global Insurance: Icahn faces 'uphill battle;' CVS/Aetna clear DoJ hurdle; disasters hit Munich Re

Sheryl Obejera, Henni Abdelghani, Pádraig Belton 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.