Banque Havilland SA, a Luxembourg-based bank, has been fined £10 million by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Edmund Rowland, who was chief executive officer of Banque Havilland’s London branch, was fined £352,000 and banned from financial services. The FCA accused Rowland of failing to act with integrity over a plot to undermine the Qatari financial system in 2017. Rowland is the son of Conservative Party donor David Rowland. A senior branch manager, David Weller, was also fined and banned by the watchdog.
The FCA found that Banque Havilland provided “improper advice” by promoting “manipulative trading strategies” in Qatar. The bank allegedly pushed a presentation aimed at devaluing the Qatari riyal to the country’s rivals after a Saudi Arabia-led coalition severed diplomatic ties and handed a copy to an official of an Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund. The FCA said that Banque Havilland’s conduct actively encouraged the commission of a financial crime.
Banque Havilland has said it is disappointed in the decision reached by the FCA and does not accept that it is directly liable for the actions of the individuals implicated in the criticized activity, who have long since left the bank. The bank has taken measures to ensure that any consequences will not significantly affect its financial position.
The case has been appealed to the UK’s Upper Tribunal, which is an independent court.