Abu Dhabi Global Market issues alert on Rothschild link scam

'RGIB has claimed on its website that it maintained private offices in the ADGM on Al Maryah Island and provided financial services.'

Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), the capital’s financial free zone, has issued a “scam alert” about a company allegedly misrepresenting a connection to the illustrious Rothschild banking dynasty.

The Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FRSA), the market’s watchdog, on Wednesday warned investors and the public about possible misrepresentation by a company called Rothschild Gulf Investment Bank (RGIB).

“RGIB has claimed on its website that it maintained private offices in the ADGM on Al Maryah Island and provided financial services,” the FRSA said.

“This claim has now been removed from its website. RGIB has not been granted a financial services permission as an authorised person or an exempt person and is not an entity with any presence both legally and physically with ADGM.

“The FSRA is concerned that RGIB is misrepresenting itself. Furthermore, such misrepresentations may be linked to other illegal activities.”

The alert – ADGM’s first since it opened for business last year – added: “The FRSA strongly advises the market and investors to be aware and cautious of RGIB or persons purporting to be acting for it, and under no circumstances to transfer nor send money/assets to this named entity. Communication with RGIB is at the investor’s own risk.”

Rothschild (Middle East) Limited, the UAE arm of the centuries-old Swiss banking dynasty, based in the Dubai International Financial Centre, declined to comment on the ADGM alert.

The DIFC regulator could not be reached for comment.

The only online reference to RGIB relates to an undated recruitment advertisement for a private banking sales specialist, invited to apply to Michael J Rothschild and giving a UAE mobile and a phone number and email address of a com­pany based in New York City.

The UAE mobile is not currently in operation, and a call to the New York number was answered by an unrelated company which had no knowledge of Mr Rothschild.

An email from a person signing himself “Michael Rothschild chairman and CEO, Worldwide Zones, The Humanitas Foundation”, responded: “I will tell you that the matter was perpetrated by a disgruntled applicant who was not hired six weeks ago. Our license is in process and the ADGM release is the result of misrepresented information provided by the applicant.

“The website mentioned in the press release is a new design in preparation for our upcoming new office on November 1, 2016 and was never released for public consumption. We are not offering licensed or financial advisory or depository services until the completion of our license, which is expected next month. In fact, our office space build out isn’t even scheduled to begin for another two weeks. With luck the matter will be resolved as soon as possible,” it added.

A spokesperson for FRSA responded: “The FSRA does not usually comment on individual entities or any application they may or may not make in the future. The alert addresses concerns it has with ‘Rothschild Gulf Investment Bank’, and FRSA is not aware of any potential application in the future.”

fkane@thenational.ae

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Published: September 14, 2016 04:00 AM

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