DUBAI, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority, has increased its stake in Swiss bank Credit Suisse to 5.21 percent, the Qatar state news agency QNA said on Saturday.
“Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) has become the largest investor in Switzerland’s Credit Suisse, after increasing its stake to 5.21 percent,” the agency said, without providing further details.
QIA’s stake in Credit Suisse Group had fallen below 5 percent last August, but an SEC filing on Friday showed it had reported a 5.07 percent passive stake as of Aug. 6, 2018.
The sovereign wealth fund said last year it planned to expand its holdings despite a diplomatic crisis with fellow Arab states that erupted last summer, leading to a trade and travel boycott that had put pressure on Qatar’s economy.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic, trade and travel ties with Qatar, accusing it of backing terrorism, a charge which Doha denies.
The economy of Qatar, the world’s largest liquefied natural gas exporter, has largely weathered the sanctions, which initially prompted QIA to deposit billions of dollars in local banks to prevent them from suffering funding squeezes.
Bankers have said Qatar’s stake in Credit Suisse might become an issue for the Swiss bank’s plan to expand in Saudi Arabia, where it is seeking a full banking licence.
However, Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam has denied facing any issues in the kingdom related to these ties, saying he had personally traveled to Saudi Arabia to apply for the licence.
QIA is the 10th biggest sovereign wealth fund in the world with assets of $320 billion, according to the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute. It also holds stakes in Volkswagen, Barclays and The London Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Ghaida Ghantous and Saeed Azhar; Editing by Mark Potter)