Saudi Family Feud Rocks World Banks

Saudi economy suffers as in-laws squabble over business
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 22, 2009 8:03 AM CDT
A Saudi man reads a newspaper while keeping an eye on a screen displaying stock market figures in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.    (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)

(Newser) – A bitter dispute between two of Saudi Arabia's richest families is damaging the world banking industry, dragging down the Saudi economy, and causing deep discomfort over Ramadan party invites. The Gosaibi clan accuse their son-in-law Ma'an al Sanea of embezzling $10 billion from the family business, while Sanea says the other family is making him a scapegoat for their losses in the financial crisis, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The two families owe more than 100 lenders some $15 billion, but Saudi courts have frozen many of their assets as a flurry of lawsuits continues, forcing some banks to write off hundreds of millions of dollars. Few expect the family feud to end anytime soon. Outside Sanea's mansion—next door to his in-laws' estate—lies a dusty box holding the pile of court summonses he has refused to accept for months.