Saudi government behind in payments to bin Laden firm for Grand Mosque construction

by WorldTribune Staff, July 19, 2016

The Riyadh government has yet to pay the Saudi bin Laden Group for construction work on the Grand Mosque at Mecca, forcing the construction firm to ask for an extension on a 817 million riyal ($217.8 million) Islamic loan, sources said.

Construction cranes at the Grand Mosque in Mecca. /AP
Construction cranes at the Grand Mosque in Mecca. /AP

The Saudi bin Laden Group had been banned since a crane accident killed 107 people at the Grand Mosque last September. The ban was lifted in May, but the company still has debt of around $30 billion, bankers estimate.

The Saudi bin Laden Group has 1.071 billion riyals ($285 million) of approved payments on work completed on the Grand Mosque project, up until December 2015, which are still outstanding.

The construction firm has continued work on the mosque renovations despite the delays in government payment and a criminal investigation into the crane incident, the sources said.

A state-linked newspaper reported last week that engineers and two government officials will face trial over the deaths.