15 Feb 2011

International banks suspend business in Ivory Coast

9:51 am on 15 February 2011

Paribas and Citibank have suspended their operations in Ivory Coast as a power struggle escalates following a disputed presidential election.

Paribas has closed there due to security concerns.

Citibank gave no official reason for its move. It said it would continue to monitor the situation.

The BBC reports the nation has been in turmoil since the election in late November between incumbent Laurent Gbagbo and rival Alassane Ouattara.

An election commission backed by the United Nations named Mr Ouattara as the winner, but Mr Gbagbo remains in power.

BNP Paribas and number one Societe Generale between them have around two thirds of the Ivory Coast market.

Citibank is the largest corporate financer for oil and gas operations in Ivory Coast and the third biggest financier for exporters of cocoa.