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Algosaibi to seek Al-Sanea default in NY court

New York, October 26, 2009

Saudi family conglomerate Algosaibi will ask a New York court for a default judgment against the billionaire head of the Saad Group, Maan Al-Sanea, over allegations he defrauded the company out of $10 billion, a spokesman said.

Representatives of Al-Sanea and the Saad Group could not be reached for comment on the case, which has drawn attention along with other litigation in the US because of debt restructuring at Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi and Bros (Ahab) and Saad Group that worsened the Arab Gulf financial crisis.

Ahab spokesman Jim Courtovich said Al-Sanea had not answered its July 15 lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court over allegations of $10 billion in loan irregularities. Maan Al-Sanea is a former employee of Ahab.

'We intend to seek a default judgment against Maan because he failed to answer the complaint filed against him by Ahab,' spokesman Courtovich said.

The spokesman did not say when lawyers would ask for the judgment. Al-Sanea had 30 days to respond from the time of receiving a summons.

The case is part of running dispute and was filed in response to an earlier complaint this year against Ahab by Dubai-based bank Mashreqbank psc over about $225 million in irregular foreign exchange trades.

Ahab argued that Mashreq sued it for $150 million that it does not owe. It said that if the conglomerate does owe the money, then it is because Maan Al-Sanea created the liability through fraud.

At the time of the July lawsuit, a Saad spokesman said, 'If we are served with such a claim, we will respond to it vigorously through specialist counsel, confident in both the true facts and the judicial process.'

In October, Ahab asked the court to dismiss the Mashreq complaint, arguing that it was based on forged documents.

Mashreq maintains Algosaibi failed to pay as agreed.

The presiding judge has yet to rule on the motion for dismissal.

Regulators and bankers are grappling with up to $22 billion of debt restructurings at Algosaibi and Saad, viewed by some Middle East experts as the biggest financial blow to that region since the global credit crisis began.

Some Gulf banks have said they face potential write-downs  on loans made to Algosaibi and Saad. HSBC analysts have estimated that Saudi banks alone face a potential $4 billion to $7 billion of losses.

The litigation is in New York because some of the parties and claims are located there. Litigation is also underway in Britain and the Cayman Islands. – Reuters




Tags: New York | Default | Algosaibi | Al-Sanea | NY Court |

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