By Frederik Richter
Investment company was closed down because of 'commercial law violations'.
Bahraini authorities closed down the offices of Gulf International Investment (GII) on Tuesday over alleged violations, suggesting regulators are taking a tougher stance toward the Gulf state's opaque investment sector.
Employees left the company's floor in the Bahrain Financial Harbour office towers in Manama after the doors were closed with official seals from the Ministry of Industry and Commerce reading "Closed due to commercial law violations".
Speaking to Reuters, one employee said: "It's a small thing, we'll sort it out in one or two days,"
It was not immediately clear why the offices were closed and whether the closure was temporary or permanent. The cell phones listed on the company's website were switched off.
Officials at the Central Bank of Bahrain and the Ministry of Industry and Commerce could also not be reached for comment.
GII is a small investment company raising money from retail investors for real estate and private equity projects mostly in the Gulf Arab region. Its homepage does not provide any information on how much money it manages.
One of the firms it started is a local chain of the US franchise Kenny Rogers Roasters restaurants.
GII does not have a central bank licence and is not allowed to invest third party investor money, according to its entry in Bahrain's commercial registry.
Bahraini investment houses raked in the money during a five year long regional property boom by earning fees on property and private equity projects, a market that collapsed late in 2008.
They have since posted steep losses and are struggling to develop new business lines to compensate for the freeze in regional investment markets. (Reuters)