Saudi Binladin Shareholders May Have Settled With Government

Saudi Bin Ladin Group has denied it has been taken over by the Saudi government following a corruption probe. Mahmoud Mahmoud  AFP

Saudi Bin Ladin Group has denied it has been taken over by the Saudi government following a corruption probe. Mahmoud Mahmoud AFP

"Based on information available to 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 company said in the statement.

Worldwide media this week reported the government had taken over SBG after chairman Bakr bin Laden was detained. It comprises three independent members - Dr Abdulrehman Hamad Al Harkan, Dr Khaled Hamza Nahas and Khaled Mohammed Al Khowaiter - and two members from the shareholders group, Yahia Mohammed Binladin and Abdullah Mohammed Binladin, said the company in the statement.

Saudi officials are trying to negotiate settlements with detainees, saying they aim to claw back some $100 billion of funds that rightfully belong to the state.

But the chairman is among several other suspects who are still in detention.

SBG was established in 1931 by Mohammed Binladin. It was forced to lay off thousands of employees.

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

The firm had been working for years on the multi-billion-dollar project to accommodate the increasing numbers of Muslim pilgrims to the site.

On Saturday, the group said that its contracted work with the government would continue, especially at the Grand Mosque in Mecca and another mosque in the holy city of Medina.

It also said it had formed a committee to oversee its restructuring towards the firm "being profitable again". It had struggled to pay workers that year after slumping oil prices depleted the coffers of the Saudi government, its main client.