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Foreign banks probed over Gupta links; Bank Leumi to exit Leumicard


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Foreign banks probed over Gupta links; Bank Leumi to exit Leumicard

* U.K. Chancellor Philip Hammond has asked the country's enforcement agencies to investigate whether British lenders HSBC Holdings Plc and Standard Chartered Plc have been involved in corruption allegations surrounding South African President Jacob Zuma and the controversial Gupta family, The (U.K.) Guardian reported. A spokeswoman for Standard Chartered said the bank has closed in early 2014 some accounts linked to the Guptas following an internal investigation, according to Reuters.

* Meanwhile, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation has also reportedly launched an investigation into individuals, bank accounts and companies in the U.S. for ties to alleged graft involving members of the Gupta family, insiders told the Financial Times.

* The London-based Commonwealth Development Corp. has announced plans to invest $4 billion in Africa over the next five years, with particular attention to Ivory Coast and Senegal, Agence Ecofin reported. Its director of private investment, Mark Pay, said the U.K.-owned development finance body wanted to "conclude agreements in a more innovative and effective way in supporting the growth of local businesses."


* Saudi Arabia's Capital Market Authority has approved updated M&A regulations as part of efforts to make the capital market environment more stable, and in accordance with the national reform program.

* The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority has set an October-end deadline for insurance firms to answer 450 questions related to their administrative, organizational and financial situations, according to the head of insurance committee in the Eastern Region Chamber, Salah Al-Jaber, Makkah reported.

* Alinma Bank has subscribed to 7 billion Saudi Arabian riyals worth of Islamic bonds under the Saudi government's riyal-denominated sukuk program, CEO and Managing Director Abdulmohsen Al-Fares told CNBC Arabia, Argaam reported. The bank's sukuk portfolio is valued at 10 billion riyals.

* Israel's central bank decided to keep its interest rate unchanged at 0.1%, as inflation continues to be lower than the target range.

* Bank Leumi le-Israel BM has decided to sell its entire 80% stake in Leumicard for around 3 billion Israeli shekels, Globes reported. Sources said Leumi Partners Ltd., the lender's investment unit that is handling the sale, is set to begin next month a roadshow targeting foreign private equity funds.

* The Securities and Commodities Authority of the United Arab Emirates has approved the application for registration and subsequent listing in the securities markets by Bahrain-based Khaleeji Commercial Bank BSC under foreign companies.

* Abu Dhabi's Mubadala Investment Co. is launching a venture capital arm that will oversee and manage Mubadala's $15 billion commitment to SoftBank Group Corp.'s Vision Fund, among others, Reuters reported.

* Vision Insurance announced the resignation of Mohammed Mahdi Jawad Al Lawati, Vikas Dixity and Subbed Kumar Agrawal from its board of directors. The insurer said the election of three new independent members of the board will be held at an Oct. 23 ordinary general meeting.

* Oman Qatar Insurance Co. SAOC was listed yesterday on the Muscat stock exchange, with a paid-up capital of 10 million Omani rials, Al Shabiba reported.

* The Central Bank of Iran's Money and Credit Council has approved new regulations aimed at increasing the stability of Iranian lenders, in line with the latest international banking supervisory standards, according to the Financial Tribune.

* Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said the central banks of Iran and Turkey, which had been trading using euros, have formally agreed to trade using the Iranian rial and Turkish lira, as part of efforts to improve economic ties between the two countries, Reuters reported.

* Ali Saeedi, deputy head of Iran's securities and exchange organization, said the first foreign currency exchange-traded fund of the Iranian capital market is expected to come on stream by next week, the Financial Tribune wrote.


* Zenith Bank Plc reported group profit attributable to equity holders of the parent of 129.05 billion Nigerian naira for the nine months ended Sept. 30, up from 95.24 billion naira a year earlier. Attributable group profit for the third quarter amounted to 53.86 billion naira.

* Nigerian lenders, including Zenith Bank Plc and Access Bank Plc, have mandated Barclays Plc to find new investors for telecommunications group 9mobile, formerly Etisalat Nigeria, banking sources told Reuters.

* Former soccer player George Weah and Vice President Joseph Boakai will face each other in the second-round of voting in Liberia's presidential election set for Nov. 7, Bloomberg News reported. The country's electoral commission yesterday said Weah had 38.4% of votes while Boakai got 28.8%, with all ballots from the Oct. 10 poll counted.


* South African Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago said South Africa's narrowing current account deficit, improving economy and stable inflation should help the country avoid further credit rating downgrades in November, Reuters wrote.

* The COMESA Competition Commission approved Luxembourg-based financial technology firm MyBucks SA's acquisition of a 50% stake in Malawi-based New Finance Bank Ltd. without conditions, The Times of Malawi reported, citing a determination letter dated Oct. 1.

* Bermuda-based Sompo International Holdings Ltd., through Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance Inc., signed a partnership agreement with South African insurer Sanlam Ltd. and pan-African insurance group SAHAM Finances, allowing Sompo to strengthen its position in Africa.

* A U.S. nongovernmental organization has accused the Democratic Republic of the Congo subsidiary of Banque Gabonaise et Française Internationale with transferring funds to militant group Hezbollah, which was under U.S. sanctions, Radio France International said.

* Angola's banking sector assets increased 16% in 2016, reaching 8.072 billion kwanzas or 63% of gross domestic product, according to an industry report by consulting firm Deloitte, state news agency Angop reported. The study said the country's five largest lenders — Banco de Poupança e Crédito SA, Banco Angolano de Investimentos SA, Banco de Fomento Angola SA, Banco BIC SA and Banco Millennium Atlântico SA — accounted for 73% of total assets and also noted a 16% increase in deposits from 2015. There was a decline in the share of deposits held in foreign currency, reflecting an acute shortage of dollars in the oil-exporting nation.

* Angolan oil firm Sonangol will maintain its 15.24% position in Portuguese bank Millennium BCP, Chairman Isabel dos Santos told Reuters, Jornal de Angola noted. She said the oil firm had boosted its holding in the bank by 1% during a capital increase earlier this year, adding that "we see our relationship in this direction strengthening and continuing."

* Banco de Poupança e Crédito SA will soon complete the sale of part of its bad loan portfolio to the state-run bad bank Recredit SA, allowing the bank to resume credit activity in 2018, according to Chairman Ricardo Viegas D'Abreu, Portugal's official news agency Lusa reported.

* The IMF has not started talks with Mozambique's government about a new aid program because officials have not yet explained how $2 billion in undisclosed loans to three public companies was spent, Reuters reported. IMF Africa Director Abebe Selassie said the fund was waiting for "gaps" identified in a recent audit to be completed before it would consider resuming aid suspended last year over the hidden debt scandal.

* The committee in charge of liquidating failed Mozambican lender Nosso Banco SA has guaranteed full payment of outstanding debts to depositors and other creditors, including public sector bodies, O País reported.


Asia-Pacific: Bangkok Bank, Siam Commercial Bank post Q3 earnings; Indonesia holds key rate

Europe: CEO Rolet to leave LSE; Catalonia deadline looms; Novo Banco sold

Latin America: S&P downgrades Guatemala; Brazil minister sees no plans to oust BNDES head

North America: BNY Mellon beats consensus; Blackstone's net income up YOY

North America Insurance: Low ACA enrollment numbers expected; New York Marine is Vegas festival insurer

Sheryl Obejera, Henni Abdelghani, Pádraig Belton and Helen Popper contributed to this report.

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