Noor Islamic Bank, whose chairman is a son of Dubai’s ruler, said it ended relations with Iranian banks in December in compliance with international rules related to sanctions against the country.
“We took pre-emptive action to end our business relationships with Iranian banks licensed in the U.A.E.,” the lender said in an e-mailed statement today. “We comply with all U.A.E. central bank and U.A.E. government directives and international regulations, including those emanating from the UN, regarding sanctions on Iran.”
The bank was targeted by the U.S. Treasury Department for being Iran’s main conduit to evade international sanctions and process oil sales, the Wall Street Journal reported today, citing unidentified people.
Noor Islamic agreed in December to close what people briefed on the matter characterized as Iran’s largest channel for repatriating foreign-currency oil receipts, facilitating as much as 60 percent of foreign oil sales by late last year, the Journal reported. The U.S. targeted the bank because it had been returning oil profits to Iran through entities that have been sanctioned by the U.S. and the European Union, including Bank Saderat Plc and Bank Melli Iran, it said.
Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the son of Dubai’s ruler, is the chairman of Noor Islamic Bank, according to the bank’s website.
The U.S. and the EU have imposed sanctions on Iran in response to its nuclear program, restricting trade and financial transactions. The U.S. and its allies suspect the program is a cover for developing atomic weapons, a contention Iran has denied, maintaining it is for civilian purposes.
U.S. sanctions against financial institutions that deal with Iran take effect at the end of June, while the EU plans to ban imports of Iranian oil from the beginning of July. Swift, the global bank-transfer service, said last week it is prepared to impose sanctions against Iranian financial institutions once the EU sets out implementation rules.