A photo showing a long queue in front of a branch of Bank Of Baroda (BoB) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is viral online with a false claim that customers are closing their accounts after the bank's CEO said the bank will continue lending to the Adani Group.
BOOM found that the claim is false and that the queue in front of a Bank of Baroda branch in Al Ain, Abu Dhabi is not related to the Adani-Hindenburg row.
The photo shows Bank of Baroda customers standing in front of the bank's Al Ain branch which was set to close with effect from March 22, 2023. All accounts from the bank's Al Ain branch have been transferred to another BoB branch in Abu Dhabi.
Gautam Adani led Adani Group has had a torrid start to the year after US-based shortseller Hindenburg Research released a 100 page report alleging decades of stock manipulation and fraud by the Indian conglomerate. The report has sent Adani group listed stocks reeling losing over $100 billion in value. Gautam Adani, who was ranked as the world's third richest person before Hindenburg's report, has fallen out of the 20 rankings.
Earlier in February, Sanjay Chadha, CEO and MD, Bank of Baroda, was quoted as saying that the bank was willing to lend additional funds to the Adani Group and that he was not worried about the market volatility around Adani stocks. Read more here. The viral image is being shared in this context.
The image shared on Facebook has been captioned as, “Crowds queueing up at Bank of Baroda Al Ain Branch, UAE to close their accounts, after the statement by its CEO, that BoB will still fund Adani companies, after the exposé of Adani's fraud. There are real consequences to electing criminals to Parliament..."
View a Facebook post here.
The photo was also shared on Twitter with the same claim.
The tweet is archived here.
BOOM found that the claim is false and that the photo is not related to the Adani-Hindenburg row or Bank of Baroda's CEO's remarks about lending to the Adani group.
We found a reply below a Facebook post by user named Riz Quresi who stated in that the bank was closing its branch in Al Ain and moving to another location in Abu Dhabi.
The caption of Qureshi's post reads, “BOB UAE AL Ain Branch is closing up & transferring to Abu Dhabi, not related to any Adani Issue as news getting circulated in Social media” (sic.)
Qureshi also shared an image of the screenshot of a notice to BoB customers from Mahesh Naidu, Chief Manager of Al Ain Branch, BoB. The notice stated the closure of the Al Ain branch and present account holders accounts which will be shifted to another Abu Dhabi branch with effect from March 22, 2023.
BOOM also found a statement posted by BoB on their verified Twitter account on February 26 debunking the viral claim.
“Bank of Baroda had taken a commercial decision to close its Al Ain branch in UAE a year ago and has received approval from the Central Bank of UAE for the same. As per the customer notice dated 20.01.2023, the Al Ain branch in UAE is being closed with effect from 22.03.2023,” the statement attributed to a BoB spokesperson said.
“To ensure smooth continuation of services, all accounts currently maintained at the Al Ain branch are being transferred to the Bank's Abu Dhabi branch in UAE," it further said.
The statement explained that those customers who wished to close their accounts could do so before March 22, 2023 without incurring any charges or penalties. Customers were visiting the Al Ain branch to give further instructions about their accounts at the Al Ain branch.
The statement also urged people not to believe in "misleading and false information being spread on social media.”
Geo Locating of the BoB Al Ain Branch
BOOM was able to geolocate the location seen in the viral photo on Google maps. In the image, one can see a shop sign reading 'VIP Xeroxing and Stationary', just next to the Bank of Baroda branch, Al Ain on Google Maps. A comparison of the viral photo and a photo available on Google Maps can be seen below.
We also found the same photo tweeted by UAE-based user, ‘@Ommattasil’ on February 25, 2023 who stated that he saw customers lining up because of the closure notice received from BoB when he went to a nearby book shop.
BOOM reached out to Tasil, who confirmed that the viral photo was taken by him on February 25, 2023 around 11.15 am.
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