The Wall Street Journal

Arcapita Goes After Two Arab Banks to Recover $45.3 Million

Arcapita Bank is suing Saudi Arabia's Al Baraka Banking Group BSC and Bahrain-based Alubaf Arab International Bank to recover a total of $45.3 million the investment firm transferred to them just before its 2012 bankruptcy filing. Arcapita is suing two units of Al Baraka for a total of $35.3 million and is going after Alubaf for $10 million in a separate suit. The suits are the biggest of 59 lawsuits Arcapita has filed seeking money it shelled out within 90 days before its March 2012 bankruptcy filing. The rest of the suits are mostly against law firms, consulting groups and vendors such as information services the company paid for. Most of those are for $200,000 or less.

EU to Maintain Sanctions on Most Iran Firms

The European Union will maintain sanctions against all but two Iranian firms that won challenges to the bloc's sanctions regime in EU courts in September. The EU will on Wednesday formally announce it is maintaining sanctions against almost all the firms by "re-listing" them for new sanctions breaches. The EU hopes that by re-listing companies and providing additional evidence, it can secure its Iran sanctions regimefor the foreseeable future.

Treasury Sanctions UAE-Based Evaders

The U.S. Treasury Department has placed sanctions on Al Hilal Exchange and Al Fida International General Trading, both based in Dubai. The two institutions were targeted for their role in providing financial services to Bank Mellat, which is itself under U.S. sanctions for being involved in Iran’s nuclear program. Both the exchange house and the trading company helped Iran maintain access to foreign currency Exchange. Moreover, Al Hilal also provided services to Bank Melli, which is also under U.S. sanctions. Representatives from each firm couldn’t be reached.

Azzad Hosts Leader in Turkish Finance

Azzad Asset Management recently hosted Dr. Mehmet Yesilyaprak of Turkiye Finans Bank at its headquarters in Washington, D.C. Yesilyaprak gave the Azzad staff an update on the banking sector in Turkey and met afterwards with Azzad management to discuss areas of future collaboration. The Azzad Wise Capital Fund invests in deposits and notes from Turkiye Finans Bank, among other Islamic banks. The Fund also invests in sukuk. As of March 31, 2013, deposits from Turkiye Finans Bank represented approximately 13% of the Fund's holdings. Portfolio Manager Jamal Elbarmil recently highlighted the contribution of Turkey's Islamic banking sector to the Azzad Wise Capital Fund's first quarter results, stating that exposure to bank deposits from the four Turkish Participation Banks, including Turkiye Finans Bank, helped the Fund outperform its benchmark for the period.

Palestinian Startup Souktel Matches Job Seekers, Employers Via Mobile

Palestinian Sadara Ventures has made an investment of about $1 million in the mobile tech venture Souktel. The new venture matches job seekers and employers using basic mobile phone technology. According to the founder and the investors of Souktel, the company will contribute to the alleviation of dire economic situations for many families and help local businesses find qualified talent in areas of conflict.

Dubai Sets Out on Another Building Boom

In the attempt to assure Dubai's position in the Middle East as a center for transport and tourism, Dubai is about to launch some grandiose construction projects. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, Dubai's ruler, ordered a a new city development named after himself to be built. According to estimates, the project will most probably be worth about $10 billion. It shall include 100 hotels, the world's largest shopping mall, parks, art galleries and exhibition centers. A further project for a leisure complex of five theme parks worth $2.7 billion has also been announced.

Dubai Opens Its Shariah Hedge Fund to Investors

Dubai is opening up its inaugural hedge fund to investors after an index-beating debut. The Middle East emirate's first fund of funds, which was launched at the beginning of 2009, beat comparable indexes by posting a 41% return last year. The fund, up slightly more than 1% through March 28, is still outperforming benchmarks this year.

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