Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Houthis Break Into Currency Exchange Offices, Confiscate Money

Houthis Break Into Currency Exchange Offices, Confiscate Money

Thursday, 11 January, 2018 - 07:45
A Yemeni man exchanges money in Sana'a. Khaled Fazaa / AFP

Houthi militias continued their aggression on public and private institutions that fall under their control in Sana'a and other governorates as they raided a number of local banks, currency exchange offices and money transfer companies in the Yemeni capital and confiscated large sums of cash from various currencies.

The group's actions and its indiscriminate policies towards the banking sector and the state treasury since its takeover of Sana’a in September 2014 have led to an economic collapse because it has been depleting foreign currency cash reserves and imposing royalties on businessmen and merchants to finance its military operations.

The value of the Yemeni riyal fell to unprecedented levels since the Houthi coup three years ago, according to bankers who spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat, as the dollar exchange rate has amounted to 480 Yemeni riyals compared to 215 riyals before the coup.  

Houthi gunmen, who arrived in military vehicles, raided Kuraimi Bank - as well as a number of major currency exchange companies in Sana’a, including “Swed,” “Ameri” and “Saifi” - forced the staff to open their safe, put the stolen money in the vehicles and headed to an unknown location, said some bankers and witnesses.

The attackers closed surveillance cameras in the currency exchange offices before stealing the money, witnesses said. 

Pro-Houthi media sources said that the group was responsible for forcing the banks and money transfer companies to adhere to a fixed exchange rate in order to prevent the continuous decline in the value of the Yemeni riyal.

For its part, the legitimate government accused the Houthis of looting about five billion dollars from the Central Bank of Yemen before it was moved to Aden. 

Editor Picks