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MENA news through Feb. 14

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MENA news through Feb. 14

MIDDLE EAST

* Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was not stepping down and denied any wrongdoing after police recommended charging him with bribery, fraud and breach of trust over two separate corruption cases. The prosecutors and attorney general Avichai Mandelblit will examine police recommendations before taking any further action, a process that could take several months.

* S&P Global Ratings said banks in the Gulf Cooperation Council are still far from the implementation of resolution regimes for both conventional and Islamic banks, despite having adopted many of the best practices and international regulations related to the implementation of resolution regimes. Meanwhile, the agency said it expects credit conditions for rated insurers in the region to remain strong and broadly stable in 2018, despite ongoing regulatory and competitive challenges in the region's insurance sector.

* Al Rajhi Banking & Investment Corp. reported fourth-quarter 2017 net profit of 2.45 billion Saudi Arabian riyals, up 19.83% from the year-ago 2.05 billion riyals. Riyad Bank's net profit came in at 974 million riyals, up from 293 million riyals a year earlier.

* The Islamic Corp. for the Development of the Private Sector named Mohammed al-Ammari acting CEO and general manager of the Saudi Arabia-based institution, succeeding Khaled al-Aboodi.

* Banks in the United Arab Emirates are optimistic that they will soon recover some funds from the 2009 collapse of Saudi Arabia-based conglomerates Saad Group and Ahmad Hamad al-Gosaibi & Bros. Co. now that "there is a young leadership in Saudi Arabia," UAE Banks Federation Chairman and Mashreqbank PSC CEO Abdulaziz al-Ghurair told Reuters.

* U.S.-based Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Co. opened a new office in Dubai, while French lender BNP Paribas SA set up a new branch within the Abu Dhabi Global Market.

* The Abu Dhabi Financial Services Regulatory Authority is reviewing and considering the development of a framework to regulate and supervise the activities of virtual currency exchanges and intermediaries.

* Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani appointed Mohammed bin Hamad bin Qassim al-Abdullah al-Thani deputy governor of the Qatar Central Bank, which recently asked banks and financial institutions not to deal in any cryptocurrency including bitcoin.

* Qatar Islamic Bank (QPSC) said that the recently completed sale of its full 60% stake in Asian Finance Bank Bhd. to Malaysia Building Society Bhd. will have no material impact on its financial performance.

* Arab Banking Corp. (BSC) reported consolidated net profit attributable to the shareholders of the parent of $193 million for full year 2017, up from the year-ago $183 million.

* Burgan Bank KPSC reported full-year 2017 consolidated net profit attributable to the owners of the parent company of 65.2 million Kuwaiti dinars, down from 68.2 million dinars a year earlier.

* Kuwait's Capital Markets Authority signed a contract with Tri International Consulting Group for the latter to advise on the IPO of Boursa Kuwait.

* Gulf Insurance Group KSCP named Osama Kishk group CFO.

* A U.S. appeals court dismissed a 2014 jury verdict finding Arab Bank Plc liable for knowingly supporting attacks in Israel linked to Hamas. The decision means the bank will now go ahead with a settlement agreement with hundreds of plaintiffs, reached with victims of the attacks or their relatives in 2015.

* Arab Orient Insurance Co. named Ali al-Wazni CEO, effective Feb. 27, according to Reuters.

* Mohammed Mansour Zammam was appointed the new governor of the Central Bank of Yemen. Zammam formerly served as the country's finance minister.

NORTH AFRICA

* Central Bank of Tunisia Governor Chedli Ayari has resigned, Reuters reported. His decision came days after Prime Minister Youssef Chahed proposed replacing him with Marouane el-Abassi, the representative of Tunisia and Libya to the World Bank.

* The Central Bank of Egypt and the Monetary Authority of Singapore entered into an agreement to boost cooperation in the financial technology arena.

* Egypt's parliament approved the country's amended capital market law, which entails the introduction of new financial instruments and futures trading, among others, Ahram reported.

* The Central Bank of Egypt granted Banque du Caire SAE approval to set up a leasing company with paid-up capital of around 100 million Egyptian pounds, according to Daily News Egypt.

Henni Abdelghani contributed to this report.

S&P Global Ratings and S&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.