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Fri 4 Nov 2011 09:59 AM

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Saudi billionaire launches legal claim against bank

Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber files counter-claim against Standard Bank over $1bn losses

Saudi billionaire launches legal claim against bank
2 Sheikh Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber\n

Saudi Arabia\n

$9.7bn ($8.8bn)\n

(Getty Images)
Saudi billionaire launches legal claim against bank
The High Court, London

Saudi Arabia’s third richest man filed a counterclaim in his fight with Standard Bank Group over unpaid loans, accusing the South African lender of allowing unauthorised trading from a personal account.

Standard Bank’s UK unit is suing Sheikh Mohamed bin Issa al Jaber in London seeking repayment of $150m in loans to companies in his MBI International & Partners group. The Johannesburg-based bank says al Jaber personally guaranteed the debt.

Al Jaber’s lawyers said in an October 31 counterclaim that the bank had an agreement with his personal adviser, Salim Khoury, which represented a conflict of interest. Khoury said in a statement that these allegations "are without any merit".

“Sheikh Mohamed is determined to defend his business, and for the truth surrounding the actions of the bank and the alleged targeting of his personal adviser to be known,” his spokesman Neil McLeod said in an e-mailed statement.

At a court hearing last week, al Jaber said he had lost more than 1 billion pounds ($1.6bn) because of the dispute with Standard Bank.

“The Sheikh has, through the course of his defense of the proceedings, raised a number of allegations,” Janice Garraway, a spokeswoman for Standard Bank, said in an e-mailed message.

“The bank considers that these allegations, and any counterclaim said to arise as a result, are entirely without merit.”

The bank 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.

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