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Saudi family business hit by further problems

Saad Group, the Saudi Arabian conglomerate owned by Maan Al Sanea, was yesterday ordered to pay $33.1 million to Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank for defaulting on a currency swap agreement.

The ruling, made at the UK's High Court in London, is the first decision in a series of lawsuits facing the family-owned conglomerate.

Saad defaulted, according to the judgement, on the currency swap agreement in June last year after it had its credit ratings withdrawn by Moody's and Standard and Poor's ratings agencies. (Continue reading here)

Al Sanea (pictured) has been in trouble for some time; he had his assets frozen in May 2009 and was subsequently accused by a fellow Saudi Arabian family firm, Ahamad Hamad Algosaibi and Brothers (AHAB), of "massive ongoing fraud." (Continue reading here)

Al Sanea strongly denies all allegations of fraud.

AHAB claims Al Sanea "misappropriated approximately $10 billion as a result of his frauds" when Al Sanea apparently worked for a financial division of AHAB. Both companies are facing huge financial difficulties and are believed to owe regional and international banks up to $20 billion.

Second-generation Saad Group is facing further demands from financial institutions in the region as they attempt to recover some of their lost money.

Maan Al Sanea was ranked the 62nd-richest person in the world by Forbes in March 2009, with a personal fortune of $7 billion. His wealth is built on local property enterprises and construction companies, sectors that took a hit during the recent global slowdown. 

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