Saudi Binladin Group denies government takeover after chairman is detained

Saudi Binladin Group denies government takeover after chairman is detained
Saudi Binladin Group have said rumours that the government has taken over the construction company are false, despite their chairman being held incommunicado.
2 min read
13 January, 2018
Saudi Binladin group said some shares have been transferred to the government [AFP]

Saudi Arabia construction giant Binladin group denied Saturday that Riyadh had taken over the company after its chairman was detained in an alleged anti-corruption campaign.

Saudi Binladin Group did admit that some shares may have been transferred to the government.

Reports of a government tekover of Saudi Binladin Group were reported this week after Chairman Bakr bin Laden was detained.

The Saudi Binladin Group "would like to confirm that it remains a private sector company owned by its shareholders", it said in a statement.

However, it said that some shares were taken over due to "outstanding dues", it added, without providing any details on the size of any such shares.

"Based on information available to the management, some of the shareholders may have agreed a settlement that involves transferring some SBG shares to the government of Saudi Arabia against outstanding dues," the statement said.

Bakr was among dozens of princes and elite businessmen and officials arrested two months ago in a crackdown by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Riyadh claims it is part of efforts to weed out rampant corruption in the country but critics say its a way of suppressing the crown prince's potential royal rivals.

Saudi authorities have said they were negotiating financial settlements with those detained that could earn state coffers about $100 billion.

Established in 1931, Saudi Binladin Group grew quickly after expanding two mosques in the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina.

Binladin Group has encountered serious difficulties in the past few years and has laid off tens of thousands of employees.

The Saudi-based Binladin construction firm belongs to the family of the late al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.