Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince MBZ - 'The Boss' at Banque Havilland



Introduction

The Intercept had received a series of documents that were provided by a group that calls itself ‘Global Leaks.’ Global Leaks claimed that they had received the documents from sources connected to Banque Havilland.


What Is Banque Havilland?

Banque Havilland is a private bank at Luxembourg. These series of documents and emails revealed that Banque Havilland had provided Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohhamed Bin Zayed, better known as MBZ “special treatment” including “advice” on how to attack Qatar’s financial markets

The United Arab Emirates called for a financial war against Qatar with the plan outlined by Banque Havilland. The scheme was to drive down the value of Qatar’s bonds and increase the cost of insuring them. This would ultimately create a currency crisis that would drain the country’s cash reserves.

The bank’s financier David Rowland has special ties with the Crown Prince. Rowland and the executive at Banque Havilland refer to him as ‘The Boss’. Their services with MBZ extend beyond the usual banker - client relationship.


Some of the Services Provided By Banque Havilland Toward MBZ


Rather, the independent bank was found aiding the de facto ruler of UAE, MBZ with deals in Zimbabwe, setting up a company to buy the image rights of players on the Abu Dhabi-owned Manchester City Football Club and helping place the bank’s chairman at the time on the board of Human Rights Watch after it published reports critical of the Persian Gulf country, Bloomberg News announced Monday.

Emails uncovered have shown that Will Tricks, who works for Banque Havilland, assisted the Crown Prince to get a foothold in Zimbabwe. 

Tricks seems to have advised MBZ on setting up a trust in Abu Dhabi for any Zimbabwe deals to hide the identities of investors from the US Treasury Department, which oversees sanctions enforcement. 


Details of the Plan:

Banque Havilland had a plan devised in 2017 to assault Qatar’s financial markets calling for a coordinated attack to deplete Qatar’s foreign-exchange reserves and pauperize its government. The document containing the mission plan was somehow hacked and leaked to The Intercept.

Qatar alleges that the bank attacked its financial system while Banque Havilland firmly denies any allegations of wrongdoing or improper conduct made by the State of Qatar claiming that the plan was a risk-management strategy to protect the UAE holdings of Qatar’s bonds.

The bank was then sued for orchestrating a campaign that cost Qatar over $40 Billion. Banque Havilland is also facing criminal investigations at Luxembourg

Herbert Kovlov, a lawyer at firm Reed Smith reached out to The intercept clarifying that Banque Havilland does not trade in bonds, securities, CDS, or any other instruments of Qatar and it has no plans to do so.

On the issue of the bank aiding MBZ, Kovlov said, “The bank is a prestigious private banking group and will not be drawn into or make comments on what are political storylines.”

The final plan included the 2022 World Cup, With the rising economic blockade, they hoped to make it harder for Qatar to continue building stadiums and other assets needed to host the games, the document outlines: “If Qatar now spends its reserves on protecting the currency and domestic credit markets, there is less dry powder to fund the infrastructure spending.”


Conclusion

Banque Havilland is found to be specialized in dealing with clients such as kleptocrats and alleged criminals in corruption hotspots including Nigeria and Azerbaijan. Its owners solicited business in sanctioned countries such as North Korea and Zimbabwe.

One of its most important clients is MBZ who is also one of their key-decision makers, according to US diplomatic cables.

Written by - Kim Houkip

Edited by - Sandhya R

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