The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the UK’s financial watchdog, is taking action against Edmund Rowland, the son of a Conservative Party donor, issuing him a financial services ban, and fining his family’s bank, Banque Havilland SA, GBP10 million following an investigation into their alleged involvement in a plot to undermine the Qatari financial system, Bloomberg reported.
The FCA has completed its investigation and ruled against Rowland and Banque Havilland, which they are appealing to the UK’s Upper Tribunal according to the court register.
Banque Havilland has been accused of orchestrating a financial attack aimed at destabilizing the riyal in a now-settled UK lawsuit. The FCA has the power to ban and fine individuals, and Rowland and Banque Havilland are now facing censure.
Banque Havilland’s presentation to the chief executive officer of a United Arab Emirates sovereign wealth fund detailed an attempt to deplete Qatar’s reserves and damage its ability to host the soccer World Cup in 2022. In response, Qatar made a “massive fiscal intervention” by pouring money into the economy while its neighbors blockaded the gas-rich nation. The central bank liquidated assets and injected $1.6 billion while the Qatar Investment Authority deposited some $20 billion with domestic banks.
Rowland has refuted the FCA’s allegations and is challenging them in the independent tribunal. The FCA declined to comment beyond the warning notice, while Banque Havilland declined to comment altogether. Banque Havilland has separately acted as a private lender to Prince Andrew.
The censure and investigation highlight the ongoing controversy surrounding the alleged role of foreign entities in attempting to manipulate the Qatari financial system. As the situation unfolds, the consequences for Rowland, Banque Havilland, and other parties involved, remain to be seen.