Friday, December 13, 2019
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N.Y. court dismisses claims over Saudi billionaire’s alleged fraud

New York: New York’s highest state court has ruled that a lawsuit by the Al Gosaibi family conglomerate, claiming that a Saudi billionaire who married into the family committed a $150 million (Dh550 million) fraud, should be heard in Saudi Arabia.

In the lawsuit, Ahmed Hamad Algosaibi & Brothers Co claimed that Maan Al Sanea, the billionaire head of the Saad Group, used its accounts with Mashreq to commit fraudulent foreign exchange trades executed in New York.

The suit is part of a global legal battle in which the Al Gosaibi family claims that Al Sanea, who married into the family 30 years ago, defrauded it of billions of dollars after he was put in charge of its financial businesses.

Al Sanea and the Saad Group have denied wrongdoing.

Reversing a lower court, the New York Court of Appeals on Tuesday dismissed Mashreq’s claims, saying the fact that the allegedly fraudulent trades were executed in New York did not give the state’s courts jurisdiction over the case.

“New York’s interest in its banking system is not a trump to be played whenever a party to such a transaction seeks to use our courts for a lawsuit with little or no apparent contact with New York,” Judge Robert Smith wrote for the court.

Because the suit involved a Saudi company, a Saudi citizen and an alleged fraud committed in Saudi Arabia, he said, “the jurisdiction with the greatest interest in resolving the issues … is clearly Saudi Arabia.” Al Sanea’s attorney, Richard Serio of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, said he was pleased with the decision.

Attorneys for Algosaibi & Brothers and Mashreq did not immediately return requests for comment.