Local creditors to hunt down Saudi billionaire’s cash

| 04/08/2009

(CNS): Following the Cayman Islands Grand Court order to freeze the assets of SaudiBillionaire Maan al-Sanea, Rawlinson & Hunter Cayman Islands partners Richard Douglas and Peter Anderson (left) have been appointed by the court as Joint Receivers of 38 of the companies registered in Cayman as part of the Saad Group all of which are currently subject to a freezing order amounting to US$ 9.2 Billion.

The order to freeze the Saudi billionaire’s assets was made last week 24 July in front of Justice Alexander Henderson after an application brought by the Cayman office of Mourant on behalf of the Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi & Brothers Co an industrial conglomerate. At least 40 of the 42 entities that have been frozen are registered with local law firm Maples and Calder

 “The Joint Receivers have been granted extensive powers to take any steps as may seem expedient in order to recover and preserve assets,” said Peter Anderson, Partner of Rawlinson & Hunter Cayman Islands adding that the Joint Receivers, as independent officers of the Cayman Islands Grand Court, would be working closely with all parties involved to ensure that the best outcome is achieved for all interested parties.

Among  the defendents in the A. H. Algosaibi & Bros. suit is Sanea himself, Saad Investments Company Limited, Saad Air Ltd. and Barclays Private Bank and Trust (Cayman) Ltd.

The Saad group of companies came under financial pressure earlier this year following the firm’s downgrading by ratings agency Moody’s to Ba1 — considered a junk rating. The Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency then issued instructions telling local banks to freeze Sanea’s personal assets.

The Cayman suit comes on the heels of one filed in New York claiming Sanea misappropriated about $10 billion from the Algosaibi’s family’s accounts into his own and fraudulently arranged loans to the company, which he diverted for his own use.

London-based spokesman for al- Sanea’s Saad Group issued a statement on Friday stating that the company would respond fully to all of these claims through the proper judicial process and demonstrate their lack of foundation. “The claims have been made before a full investigation has taken place and rely on partial and incomplete information.” Thursday saying the claims made by Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi and Brothers were without foundation and that Sanea would challenge the Cayman court’s order to freeze his company’s worldwide assets.

The dispute may also have significant ramifications for the regional banking system with reports today suggesting that the total exposure of Saudi banks to Saad Group and Ahmad Hamad Al Gosaibi and Bros. Co could be as high as $7 billion. "Banks have postponed the decision to take provisions to a later date and are waiting for the central bank to take actions," Deepak Tolani, a banking analyst at the Dubai-based brokerage Al Mal Capital told the Wall Street Journal. "But I don’t think the problem will go away."


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