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Government assumes control of Saudi Binladin Group

It is believed that Saudi Arabia has taken managerial control of construction giant Saudi Binladin Group while discussing a possible transfer of some of the group's assets to the state while its chairman and other family members are in detention.

Binladin is the biggest builder in the country and vitally important to Riyadh’s plans for large real estate, industrial and tourism projects designed to help diversify the economy beyond oil.

However, the group has been hurt financially in the past couple of years by a construction slump. A temporary exclusion from new state contracts also hit the group following a crane accident that killed 107 people at Mecca's Grand Mosque in 2015. Binladin was forced to lay off thousands of employees as a result.

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The government detained scores of senior officials and businessmen in October as part of a sweeping nationwide crackdown on corruption, including Binladin group’s chairman Bakr Bin Laden and several family members, as Saudi officials try to negotiate settlements with detainees, in order to claw back some of the billions of finds that rightfully belong to the state.

The group is currently managed by a five-member committee (formed by the Finance Ministry), that includes three government representatives. The committee oversees the group's business and handles relations with suppliers and contractors.

 

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