Tehran Times

European banks willing to resume activities in Iran: official

European banks are showing eagerness to resume activities in Iran now that the sanctions are being lifted against the Islamic Republic, according to Ali Divandari, director of Iran’s Monetary and Banking Research Institute (MBRI). Divandari made the remarks in a press conference on Tuesday to expound on programs and objectives of “The 2nd Business and Banking Forum Iran Europe” which will be held in Tehran from March 5 to 7. The forum is to strengthen ties between Iranian and European banks and also boost cooperation between Iranian banks and foreign investors, Divandari stated. Divandari further stated that the forum will host about 60 foreign participants mainly from Germany.

Iran’s Bank Mellat to claim $820m from Britain

Iran's Bank Mellat seeks to file a claim of at least 500 million pounds (USD 820 million) in compensation against the British government for loss of business caused by illegal sanctions on Tehran over its nuclear energy program. It is the first time that an Iranian lawsuit over sanctions has reached the stage of claiming compensation. On June 19, 2013, Britain’s Supreme Court overturned a ruling against Bank Mellat over its alleged links to Tehran's nuclear energy program. The European Union General Court decided in January to quash sanctions imposed against Bank Mellat in July 2010.

Hemmati named as new governor of Bank Melli Iran

Abdonnaser Hemmati has been elected by the board of directors of Bank Melli Iran as the bank’s new governor, replacing Farshad Heidari. Heidari had been appointed as the governor of the bank after Mahmoud Reza Khavari, its former governor, fled to Canada after a $2.6 billion financial fraud case was uncovered in 2011. Economy minister Ali Tayyebnia is scheduled to officially install Hemmati at the post by Friday. Hemmati has served as the managing director of Sina Bank and the chairman of Iran’s Central Insurance Company.

Veteran financier sets up private bank in Iran

Parviz Aghili earlier this year opened what is in effect the Iran's only privately owned bank, the Middle East Bank. It focuses on domestic corporate clients and wealthy individuals within Iran’s private sector. Since it opened its doors in January, the Middle East bank – the smallest Iranian bank with only three branches so far – has attracted 1.4tn rials ($114m) in deposits and granted 3tn rials in loans. But the greater challenge for the western-educated veteran banker will be avoiding to become state-owned. Aghili said the bank has no interest in attracting state-owned or quasi-state-owned companies as shareholders or as clients. For now the Middle East bank plans to remain small. Moreover, it plans to open representative offices in countries such as India and Oman.

‘Bank Mellat appeal has global implications’

After the European Union imposed sanctions on Iran-based Bank Mellat and removed them in January, the EU Council has now launched an appeal against the decision of the court. However, Bank Mellat is at present considering applying to the EU Court to strike out the EU Council’s appeal on the grounds that the appeal was filed too late. According to Sarosh Zaiwalla, senior partner at Zaiwalla & Co, the EU Council appealed the decision due to political pressure from the United States government to reinstate sanctions. He stressed the importance of an independent court system in order to deal with businesses who have disputes criss-crossing legal borders.

Iran holds 42.7% of total global Islamic banking assets

KFH-Research issued a report that stated that Iran's Islamic banking assets contributed 42.7% of the total global Islamic banking assets in 2012, followed by PGCC (34.1%) and Malaysia (10.0%). The report expected that Islamic banking will continue to grow in the PGCC region during this year, and that it will manage to enter new markets worldwide, driven by growth factors and increasing demand. Islamic banking assets are expected to reach USD 1.5 trillion by end of this year with an accumulative growth rate of up to 20%. Islamic banking represents the largest market share (80.3%) in the Islamic finance total assets.

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