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Saad Group Must Pay Abu Dhabi $33.1 Million, London Judge Rules

Saad Group, the business owned by Saudi billionaire Maan al-Sanea, was ordered by a U.K. judge to pay $33.1 million to Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank PJSC for defaulting on a foreign-currency swap agreement.

Saad Trading Contracting and Financial Services Co.’s defenses that Abu Dhabi didn’t terminate the swap agreement on time or specify a bank account for payment were “hopeless,” Judge Michael Brindle ruled today in the High Court in London.

Saad defaulted when its credit rating was withdrawn in June 2009, Brindle said. The company, based in al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia, argued the default applied to other deals between the companies and not to the 2008 swap created for Saad to hedge against future currency fluctuations.

Saudi banks tightened lending after Saad and another Saudi company, Ahmad Hamad Al-Gosaibi & Brothers Co., defaulted on loans last year, triggering court battles around the globe. In one of the cases, Al-Gosaibi, the family into which al-Sanea married, accused him in New York of siphoning off $10 billion while he was running a money-management business for them, court filings show.

Saad Group’s press office in London didn’t immediately return a call for comment.

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