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Thu 22 May 2008 10:03 AM

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Saudi regulator slaps wrists of eight firms

Emaar Economic City fined in Saudi regulators' crackdown on late 2007 financial statements.

The Saudi bourse regulator said on Wednesday it has fined eight listed firms, most operating in insurance, 10,000 riyals ($2,667) each for failing to issue their 2007 financial statements within the required timeframe.

The eight firms include property developer Emaar Economic City in which Emaar is a key shareholder, insurance company Medgulf and SABB Takaful.

"[The eight firms] did not comply in disclosing their 2007 annual earnings within the fixed deadline," the Capital Market Authority (CMA) said in a statement.

Analysts blame the sharp volatility of the Saudi market on poor corporate governance by many listed firms, thin research and poor knowledge among the average investor on how the bourse works.

Like others in the Gulf Arab region, Saudi Arabia's market has been tainted by allegations of insider trading and manipulation of stock prices, and CMA has slapped hefty fines on many investors it found guilty of fraud.

The other firms to be fined are Malath insurance company, Sanad insurance company, Saudi Fransi Insurance company, Anaam Holding and Eastern Agricultural Development Company. (Reuters)

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