Looted Money: Saudi Arabia to action off richest arrested Saudi billionaire properties

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Looted Money: Saudi Arabia to action off richest arrested Saudi billionaire properties

*RIYADH - *Saudi Arabia to auction off properties of indebted billionaire Maan al-Sanea.

Sanea, ranked by Forbes in 2007 as one of the world’s 100 richest people, was detained last year for unpaid debts dating back to 2009 when his company, Saad Group, defaulted.

His case is separate from the scores of Saudi businessmen and prominent figures who were held on corruption charges last year at Riyadh’s Ritz Carlton hotel, although it touches on similar investor concerns about corporate governance.

In what was Saudi Arabia’s longest-running debt dispute, creditors have spent the past nine years pursuing Saad Group, which is based in the Eastern Province, for debt repayment.

Etqaan Alliance, the consortium appointed late last year by a three-judge tribunal to resolve Saad’s debt dispute, will sell the assets over five months at auctions in the Eastern Province, Riyadh and Jeddah, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

The first auction – of undeveloped and commercial land plots, a farm, and income-generating residential buildings in Eastern Province’s Khobar and Dammam – will take place in late October, the sources added.

One source estimated sale proceeds at one to two billion riyals ($267-$533 million). A creditor source said the auction had been delayed because of weakness in the local property market.