Currencies

Nomura rounds up markets’ biggest misses in 2016

Forecasting markets a year in advance is never easy, but with “year-ahead investment themes” season well underway, Nomura has provided a handy reminder of quite how difficult it is, with an overview of markets’ biggest hits and misses (OK, mostly misses) from the start of 2016. The biggest miss among analysts, according to Nomura’s Sam […]

Continue Reading

Property

Spanish construction rebuilds after market collapse

Property developer Olivier Crambade founded Therus Invest in Madrid in 2004 to build offices and retail space. For five years business went quite well, and Therus developed and sold more than €300m of properties. Then Spain’s economy imploded, taking property with it, and Mr Crambade spent six years tending to Dhamma Energy, a solar energy […]

Continue Reading

Currencies

Euro suffers worst month against the pound since financial crisis

Political risks are still all the rage in the currency markets. The euro has suffered its worst slump against the pound since 2009 in November, as investors hone in on a series of looming battles between eurosceptic populists and establishment parties at the ballot box. The single currency has shed 4.5 per cent against sterling […]

Continue Reading

Banks

RBS falls 2% after failing BoE stress test

Royal Bank of Scotland shares have slipped 2 per cent in early trading this morning, after the state-controlled lender emerged as the biggest loser in the Bank of England’s latest round of annual stress tests. The lender has now given regulators a plan to bulk up its capital levels by cutting costs and selling assets, […]

Continue Reading

Currencies

China capital curbs reflect buyer’s remorse over market reforms

Last year the reformist head of China’s central bank convinced his Communist party bosses to give market forces a bigger say in setting the renminbi’s daily “reference rate” against the US dollar. In return, Zhou Xiaochuan assured his more conservative party colleagues that the redback would finally secure coveted recognition as an official reserve currency […]

Continue Reading

Categorized | Banks

Egypt bank defends graft-charge executives


Posted on May 31, 2012

EFG-Hermes, the Cairo-based investment bank, said on Thursday that it stood by its two chief executives who have been charged with insider trading in a case which also involves the two sons of Hosni Mubarak, the ousted Egyptian president.

Hassan Heikal and Yasser El Mallawany have been named in an investigation into the 2007 sale of Al Watany Bank of Egypt, a listed company, to the National Bank of Kuwait.

    EFG-Hermes, the Middle East’s leading investment bank, said that it affirmed “the soundness of its legal position” and that of its two executives.

    “The company confirms that no advantage or personal benefit accrued to the two executives and that they were not involved in any transactions or share dealing on their own behalf in relation to Al Watany Bank,” said a statement by EFG-Hermes.

    It said it would take all necessary legal action to “defend its position in this matter”.

    Prosecutors cited in Egyptian state media said Alaa and Gamal Mubarak, along with the bank’s two chief executives and a former CEO, had been charged with corrupt stock exchange dealings worth more than $400m in connection with the sale of Al Watany Bank.

    Gamal Mubarak owns an 18 per cent stake in EFG’s private equity subsidiary which he acquired in 1997 before he became involved in Egyptian politics. The younger son of the toppled dictator, he was widely considered his heir apparent for most of the last 10 years.

    A court is due to rule on Saturday on separate corruption charges against the brothers and their father. At the same hearing the court will also hand down its much-anticipated verdict on complicity to murder charges against the former president in relation to the killing of hundreds of demonstrators during last year’s uprising.

    Hani Sarieledin, a lawyer for EFG, told the Financial Times that the bank’s private equity subsidiary managed the Horus Fund II which held a 10 per cent stake in Al Watany before its sale to Kuwait National Bank.

    He said Gamal Mubarak was not an investor in Horus and neither was EFG, which earned management fees and a percentage on capital gains.

    Mr Sarieldin said Horus was among investors holding 46 per cent of Al Watany who signed a marketing agreement with EFG-Hermes in December 2006 to find a buyer for the bank.

    The charges, he explained, arose from their non-disclosure of the intention to sell until March 2007 when they received letters of intent from prospective buyers.

    But Mr Sarieldin said there was no breach of the law or of capital market regulations.

    “They were not obliged to disclose anything until they had a potential buyer,” he said. “In fact, because the bank’s global depository receipts are traded in London, they were given legal advice by an international law firm not to disclose because it would be considered price manipulation.”

    The timing of the new charges against the Mubarak brothers, just a few days before the court ruling, has provoked speculation that the country’s military rulers are sending a message that they intend to maintain a tough stance on the family of the former president irrespective of the result in the other case.

    Ahmed Shafiq, a former member of the military, is one of two finalists who will contest the second round of the presidential election on June 16. Many Egyptians have expressed fears that if he is elected he might pardon the Mubaraks if they are convicted. Some observers say the latest moves against his sons are meant to signal that such an outcome is unlikely.