Saudi Arabia authorities are preparing to auction billions of dollars of real estate and cars belonging to billionaire Maan al-Sanea and his company as they look to hasten an end to one of the kingdom’s longest-running debt disputes.
The billionaire was arrested by Saudi authorities late last year for unpaid debt dating back to 2009 from his company, Saad Group, defaulting on debts. According to some, al-Senea’s debt could be between 40 and 60 billion Saudi riyals, or $10.6 and $15.9 billion at today’s exchange rates.
The planned sale is the latest signal that Saudi Arabia is serious about holding its elites to account. In an anti-corruption crackdown last November, authorities detained scores of senior officials on charges of alleged graft. Most have been released after being exonerated or agreeing to give the state money, assets or real estate.
The al-Sanea case is separate from the main anti-graft campaign. The businessman, ranked by Forbes as one of the world’s 100 richest people in 2007 was detained by authorities late last year for unpaid debt dating back to 2009 when his company, Saad Group, defaulted on debts.
Creditors have spent the past nine years pursuing Saad, which is based in the city of Khobar in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province.
Investors see the case as a litmus test of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s commitment to reforms.
Etqaan Alliance, the consortium appointed by Saudi authorities to liquidate assets owned by al-Sanea and the company in an effort to repay creditors, plans to begin selling the company’s assets in Saudi Arabia.
Ministry of Justice confirmed an auction would be launched this month to sell vehicles, equipment, a large quantity of building materials and some property before the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan, which starts in May.
What’s even more staggering is the fleet of vehicles owned by the Saad Group. There are 923 vehicles under its ownership, including trucks, buses, and cars. A further 26 vehicles are registered under al-Sanea’s name,including a Rolls Royce, a Hummer, and Cadillac Concord.
All of the proceeds from the auction will be distributed to the company’s creditors.
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