Wednesday 06, June 2018 by Jessica Combes

AHAB’s $4 billion claim against Saad Group of companies dismissed

 

Maan Al Sanea’s assets and those of his Saudi entity, Saad Trading, are being liquidated by the Enforcement Court in Al Khobar

The Chief Justice of the Cayman Islands handed down his 1,348 page first-instance judgment in an ongoing ten-year dispute between the Algosaibi family (AHAB) and the Saad Group of companies in Liquidation (including Saad Investments Company Limited and Singularis) based in the Cayman Islands.

The Honourable Anthony Smellie QC (the Chief Justice) dismissed AHAB’s $4 billion claim against the Companies due to AHAB’s alleged constructive knowledge of Maan Al Sanea’s fraud.  He also dismissed the Saad group’s $5.9 billion counterclaim against AHAB.  The previous Judgement obtained by AHAB against Al Sanea personally remains in place.

“When proceedings were commenced in 2009, AHAB’s overriding objective was two-fold: to prevent Al Sanea from further dissipation of assets held in the Cayman entities, thereby putting them out of the reach of creditors, and to return assets to AHAB’s creditors. While we achieved the first objective, we are disappointed not to succeed in the second,” said Simon Charlton, the Chief Restructuring Officer of AHAB.

At trial, AHAB maintained that Al Sanea and his Saad Group of companies owed just over $4 billion, being the net amount of cash that was misappropriated from the Money Exchange division of AHAB.  The Chief Justice concluded that the Algosaibis must have been aware that Al Sanea had taken this money and so the amount owed is a debt owed by Al Sanea, rather than the proceeds of a fraud on AHAB.

“Unfortunately, the effect of the judgment is that none of the assets in Cayman can be paid to AHAB’s creditors. It is important though that the counterclaims were defeated and also that the judgment against Al Sanea stands,” added Charlton.

The Saad Investment Company & Singularis Holdings Limited’s counterclaim was for $5.9 billion, including a promissory note for US$4,495,006,252, purportedly issued by AHAB to Singularis.  The Chief Justice concluded that the counterclaim was an attempted fraud on AHAB and was based on unreliable and unsafe evidence.

“Obviously, the judgment is a very substantial document and, together with our lawyers, we are considering our next steps” said Charlton. There is an automatic right of appeal in Cayman; however, any appeal is unlikely to be heard until 2019.

In 2012, AHAB obtained a $2.5cillion judgment against Al Sanea, in the Cayman Islands. This judgment stands and is not affected by today’s outcome. “We will continue to enforce this judgment debt, in Saudi Arabia, for the benefit of AHAB’s creditors,” said Charlton.  In addition, AHAB is pursuing claims against Al Sanea in courts in Saudi Arabia.

Maan Al Sanea is currently being held in prison in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia.  His assets and those of his Saudi entity, Saad Trading, are being liquidated by the Enforcement Court in Al Khobar.

Al Sanea has also been sentenced by Bahrain's criminal court to five years in prison, being convicted on charges of violating the Central Bank of Bahrain's (CBB) law for, among other things, having conspired in providing false and misleading information to the CBB and destroying evidence.  The criminal complaint was filed by the CBB against 15 individuals, including Al-Sanea and those who worked for him.

None of the Algosaibi family was the subject of criminal investigation and none has been charged with any crime.

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