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| 09 November, 2017

UAE asks banks for information on 19 Saudis' accounts -sources

A customer makes a transaction at Emirates Bank in Dubai March 7, 2007.

A customer makes a transaction at Emirates Bank in Dubai March 7, 2007.

REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

The regulators' request was contained in a circular sent earlier this week and banks have responded, the sources said

ABU DHABI/DUBAI - The United Arab Emirates central bank and securities regulator have asked banks and finance companies in the UAE to provide information on the accounts of 19 Saudi citizens, banking sources told Reuters on Thursday.

Saudi authorities have previously confirmed that almost all the 19 have been detained in a sweeping corruption investigation. One of those is Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, chairman of international investment firm Kingdom Holding.

The regulators' request was contained in a circular sent earlier this week and banks have responded, the sources said, adding that the banks had not been asked to freeze the accounts.

The UAE's securities regulator, the Securities and Commodities Authority, declined to comment while officials at the central bank were not available to comment.

Commercial bankers said they believed UAE authorities were acting at the request of Saudi authorities, but this was not confirmed. Saudi officials have said they will try to recover billions of dollars of illicit assets from dozens of senior businessmen and officials detained in the probe.

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Saudia Arabia has mutual legal assistance arrangements with other Gulf Arab countries that help it seek such information in criminal cases.

(Reporting by Stanley Carvalho and Tom Arnold; Writing by Andrew Torchia; Editing by Shri Navaratnam) ((andrew.torchia@thomsonreuters.com; +9715 6681 7277; Reuters Messaging: andrew.torchia.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))