Saudi billionaire Al Jaber loses $150m court fight

MBI boss ordered to repay $150m in loans to Standard Bank after London court ruling
Saudi billionaire Al Jaber loses $150m court fight
Sheikh Mohamed bin Issa Al Jaber said he would appeal the ruling
By Bloomberg
Wed 09 Nov 2011 07:33 AM

Standard Bank won its case against Saudi billionaire Sheikh Mohamed bin Issa al Jaber for the repayment of about $150m in loans.

A London judge ordered the founder of MBI International & Partners Inc to begin repaying the debt immediately, saying there was “no real defense at all” against the claims.

Standard Bank sued al Jaber in London seeking repayment of $150m in loans to companies in his MBI group. The Johannesburg-based bank says al Jaber personally guaranteed the debt. It won a global freezing order on the sheikh’s assets last year, which forced parts of his JJW Hotels & Resorts chain into administration, al Jaber said in a court appearance on Nov. 3. He claims to have lost more than £1bn ($1.61bn) because of the dispute.

Al Jaber, Saudi Arabia’s third-richest man with interests in hotels and agribusiness, will appeal and filed a complaint regarding Standard Bank to the Financial Ombudsman service, his spokesman Neil McLeod said in an emailed statement. He previously filed a counterclaim at the court accusing the lender of allowing unauthorized trading from a personal account.

“Sheikh Mohamed wishes to underline that he is continuing this fight and pursuing justice through the legal system,” the statement said.

Standard Bank had an agreement with al Jaber’s personal adviser, Salim Khoury, which represented a conflict of interest, his lawyers said in a legal filing. The lawyers said the bank let Khoury breach foreign-exchange trading limits, then loaned him money to cover the losses.

Khoury said in an e-mailed statement “these allegations are without any merit.”

Jones Day, the law firm representing Standard Bank, said in an emailed statement that the global freezing order against the al Jaber’s assets granted by a UK court in 2010 would remain “pending satisfaction of the judgment debt.”

“The bank had always been confident in what it considered to be a straightforward debt claim,” the statement said.

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