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AHAB faces renewed scrutiny

International law firm Trowers & Hamlins announced yesterday it has filed a £720 million foreign exchange claim against the troubled family-owned conglomerate Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi & Brothers (AHAB).

The claim, filed in Saudi Arabia, centres around one of AHAB's subsidiary companies, The International Banking Corporation (TIBC), which went into administration in July 2009 and owes international and local banks around $2.6 billion. According to Trowers & Hamlins, TIBC's external administrators, AHAB is TIBC's single biggest debtor owing $3.2 billion.

Trowers & Hamlins said it filed the claim following "unsatisfactory responses from AHAB and their representatives to questions relating to the assets of TIBC that we have repeatedly asked them."

Abdullah Mutawi, partner at the law firm, said: "These claims form the first in a series of litigation proceedings which will be brought in a variety of jurisdictions around the world against those debtors of TIBC including AHAB. Further claims will be lodged in the coming weeks and months."

This latest claim forms part of a complex case that involves AHAB and fellow family-owned, Saudi-based conglomerate Saad Group. July 2009 saw AHAB accuse Maan Al Sanea, the Saad Group's billionaire owner, of "massive ongoing fraud" in which he misappropriated approximately $10 billion. (Continue reading here)

Al Sanea was apparently serving as head of TIBC when the alleged frauds occurred.

Al Sanea is also accused of defaulting on loans advanced by TIBC and is facing multiple lawsuits across several jurisdictions. (Continue reading here)

According the Trowers & Hamlins, the hearing dates for this case have been set for early 2011. 

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