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Sun 19 Dec 2010 08:32 AM

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Bahrain releases UK bankers in Saad/AHAB case

Four Britons held for 18 months have now returned home, no formal charges were filed

Bahrain releases UK bankers in Saad/AHAB case
Bahrain World Trade Centre, Bahrain skyline, Bahrain business, Bahrain economy

Bahrain
has released four Britons held in the country for 18 months after the banks
they worked for collapsed, in a meltdown that has caused a multi-billion dollar
row between two Saudi families.

The
four, who worked at banks related to the empires of businessman Maan Al Sanea
and the Algosaibi family, all returned from Bahrain this week, sources close to
the matter told Reuters.

The
men had been ordered not to leave the small island nation off the coast of
Saudi Arabia, pending investigations after Awal Bank and The International
Banking Corporation (TIBC) were put into administration in the middle of 2009.

But
no formal accusations were ever levelled against the four. They are Tony James,
Alistair MacLeod and Cliff Giddings, all formerly senior executives at Awal
Bank, and Kevin Moriarty, who was at TIBC.

The
failure of the banks is a centrepiece in a row that has erupted between the
Ahmad Ahab Algosaibi and Brothers (AHAB) business empire and Al-Sanea, who is
related by marriage to the family, but runs his own Saad Group.

The
Saad Group declined to comment.

The
release comes after diplomatic pressure from the UK around a recent visit of
the Bahraini crown prince, and a second investigation into the matter by Kroll,
a consultancy known for its work on high-profile fraud and crime cases.

"We
are aware of this case and have been providing consular assistance, [but] we
cannot comment on the detail of this," a spokeswoman for the Foreign
Office said.

An
earlier report into the demise of Awal by HIBIS, a relatively unknown British
group, was handed to Bahraini authorities last year.

 

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