Saudi Arabia to auction detained billionaire's properties

Saudi Arabia to auction detained billionaire's properties
2 min read
16 September, 2018
Tycoon Maan al-Sanea's company owes up to $16bn to creditors after it defaulted in 2009.
Maan al-Sanea's company Saad Group has been pursued by creditors since 2009 [Getty]
Saudi Arabia is to auction off real estate owned by a tycoon currently detained over unpaid debts.

Property owned by indebted billionaire Maan al-Sanea and his company will be sold off from October to help repay billions of riyals due to creditors, according to Reuters sources.

Sanea's company Saad Group is believed to have an estimated debt of between 40 billion ($10.6bn) and 60 billion riyals ($16bn) after it defaulted in 2009.

Sanea, ranked by Forbes in 2007 in the world's top 100 richest people, was arrested last year over the outstanding sum.

His case is separate from the dozens of high profile Saudi businessmen and influential figures who were held on corruption charges last year at Riyadh's Ritz Carlton hotel.

Creditors have since 2009 pursued Saad Group for repayment, in what has been Saudi Arabia's longest-running debt dispute. 

It has resulted in Etqaan Alliance, appointed late last year by a tribunal to settle the dispute, to sell Sanea's assets over five months at auctions in the Eastern Province, Riyadh and Jeddah, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Next month's auction lot will include undeveloped and commercial land plots, a farm, and residential buildings in Eastern Province's Khobar and Dammam.

Proceeds from the sales are estimated at one to two billion riyals ($2.6m - $5.3m), a source said.

An earlier auction in March raised 125 million riyals ($33.3m), from the sale of 900 vehicles owned by Saad Group, including trucks, buses, diggers, forklift trucks and golf carts, and helped reimburse unpaid workers.

Up to 34 creditors, mostly banks, are set to benefit from the next sales, sources said.

Saad Group defaulted together with Ahmad Hamad al-Gosaibi and Brothers in 2009, leaving banks with unpaid debt of about $22 billion in what was Saudi Arabia's biggest financial meltdown.

It is not known whether Sanea will be released from detention after his assets are sold.

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