AHAB Hails Cayman Island Court of Appeal Judgment Ordering Massive Fraud Case Against Al Sanea to Proceed in Cayman Islands

Dec 01, 2010, 14:40 ET from Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi Brothers

GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands, Dec. 1, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- The Court of Appeal of the Cayman Islands today directed that the multi-billion dollar fraud claim brought by Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi Brothers (AHAB) against Maan Al Sanea, an insider who has been alleged to have defrauded AHAB of more than $9 billion, should be tried in the Cayman Islands.  Previously, a lower court had stopped proceedings in the case suggesting that parts of it might be more suitably tried in Saudi Arabia.  The Cayman court had previously frozen Al Sanea's assets worldwide based on AHAB's claim that he defrauded it by repeatedly forging the signature of AHAB's chairman in order to obtain lending. With this decision, the stay is lifted and the fraud claim in the Cayman Islands can now proceed to judgment.

"We are extremely pleased that the Cayman Island Court of Appeal has recognized that this massive fraud claim should be tried in the Cayman Islands and that the parties should not be compelled to go first to Saudi Arabia for the determination of preliminary issues," said Eric Lewis, Global Legal Coordinator for AHAB.  "Maan Al Sanea has been saying that he wants to prove his case in court, while doing everything possible to frustrate and delay being held accountable. Now the facts will come to light and we are confident that AHAB will be shown to have been the victim of one of the largest frauds in history."

In delivering the judgment, Sir John Chadwick, President of the Court of Appeal, rejected Al Sanea's claims that there was no jurisdiction over him and that he was not properly served.  The Court also held that the $9.2 billion worldwide freezing order of Al Sanea's assets should remain in place until trial.  With respect to trying the fraud claims against Al Sanea in Saudi Arabia, Sir John Chadwick, noted, "Nor was it possible to be confident that proceedings commenced in the Saudi Courts would lead to a decision determinative of AHAB's claims against Mr. Al Sanea within any measurable period, if at all."  The Court characterized AHAB's forgery claims against Al Sanea as "serious."

Although Al Sanea has a technical right of appeal to the Privy Council in London, the appeal is discretionary and highly unlikely to be granted.

The Cayman Island Court of Appeal also dismissed a finding of contempt against Al Sanea on technical grounds regarding the nature of service of the contempt application and also found that the lower court did not adequately state its reasons for its finding of proof of wrongdoing "beyond a reasonable doubt."  Lewis commented, "AHAB wanted to show the way Al Sanea does business, personally ordering a $60 million payment a day after a $9.2 billion freezing order was made against him.  His defense – that no one would have brought to his attention that his entire empire was frozen – seemed to the lower court to be incredible.  The Court of Appeal has apparently disagreed, but from AHAB's perspective, this is entirely peripheral to the main issue of proving its case in fraud."

For a copy of the judgment please email ryans@sphereconsulting.com.

SOURCE Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi Brothers