Osama Bin Laden’s Brother Arrested In Saudi Crackdown

Among the numerous high-profile figures arrested overnight in Saudi Arabia on “anti-corruption” charges, in addition to the shocking detention of prince Alwalaleed bin-Talal another unexpected name has emerged: that of Bakr bin Laden, chairman of Saudi Binladin Group and brother of Osama bin Laden. The Binladin Group is one of the biggest construction companies, with an annual turnover of $30 billion. It was carrying out the expansion of the Kaaba complex.

Bakr bin Laden

The family rejected al-Qaeda's former leader, Osama Bin Ladin, because he was involved in terrorist activities in the 1990s. A quick primer on the Binladin Group from the WSJ:

Based in Jeddah and [ZH: formerly] favored by Saudi Arabia's royal family, Saudi Binladin Group derives billions in annual revenue from a wide range of enterprises, including mosque construction, telecommunications and selling Snapple soft drinks in Saudi Arabia. Although the family's U.S. spokesman says Saudi Binladin Group is wholly owned by the extended bin Laden family, not including Osama, he said he could provide no information on exactly which members have an equity interest in the company.


British paging company Multitone Electronics PLC said it was shocked to learn that its reseller in Saudi Arabia, Baud Telecommunications Ltd., is owned by the Binladin Group. "You're joking," Chief Executive Michael Walker said. "Oh bloody! I didn't know. I thought it was just Baud Telecom."


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The family has donated to colleges, Islamic organizations and other nonprofit causes in both England and the U.S. Abdullah, one of Mr. bin Laden's brothers, received a master's degree in law from Harvard Law School in 1992.


Two years later, on a fundraising trip to the Middle East, the law school's dean made a pitch to another brother, Sheik Bakr Mohammed bin Laden, chairman of the family group. Bakr and the group subsequently donated $1 million to the law school, half for a visiting scholars program and half for financial aid for law students from the Muslim world. The family also gave $1 million to Harvard's Graduate School of Design in 1993.


Robert Clark, the law school dean, said the gift was intended "to promote mutual understanding between scholars trained in Islamic legal systems and those trained in Western legal systems. We need that more than ever."


Still, outside the Arab world, the Binladin name has become an increasing liability. Until a year and a half ago, the group had a prominent storefront on the main street of Astana in the new Kazakhstan, with a contract to create the city's master plan. Then, although the Kazak government believed the company's assurances that it was not linked to Mr. bin Laden, President Nursultan Nazarbayev dropped the company just in case someone got the wrong idea, a government official said.


In 1999, the group changed the name of its telecommunications division from Binladin to Baud. John Dickson, a Baud manager, says the switch reflects a desire to choose a more modern name. Baud means distance in Arabic, and in English it is a measurement of speed.

As the WSJ concluded back in 2001, "In the Arab world the Binladin name is looked upon with "absolute reverence - like IBM."

Not any more, even though the reason why the Binladen chairman has fallen out of grace with the Saudi royalty has yet to be determined.

As a reminder, a total of eleven princes, four current ministers and dozens of former ministers were among those who were detained. A list of those detained includes:

  • Bakr bin Laden, chairman of Saudi Binladin Group;
  • Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, chairman of Kingdom Holding;
  • Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, minister of the National Guard;
  • Prince Turki bin Abdullah, former governor of Riyadh province;
  • Khalid al-Tuwaijri, former chief of the Royal Court;
  • Adel Fakeih, Minister of Economy and Planning;
  • Ibrahim al-Assaf, former finance minister;
  • Abdullah al-Sultan, commander of the Saudi navy;
  • Mohammad al-Tobaishi, former head of protocol at the Royal Court;
  • Amr al-Dabbagh, former governor of Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority;
  • Alwaleed al-Ibrahim, owner of television network MBC;
  • Khalid al-Mulheim, former director-general at Saudi Arabian Airlines;
  • Saoud al-Daweesh , former chief executive of Saudi Telecom;
  • Prince Turki bin Nasser, former head of the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment;
  • Prince Fahad bin Abdullah bin Mohammad al-Saud, former deputy defence minister;
  • Saleh Kamel, businessman;
  • Mohammad al-Amoudi, businessman;

As reported overnight, many of the detainees were held at the opulent Ritz-Carlton hotel in the diplomatic quarter of Riyadh. The hotel’s exterior gate was shuttered on Sunday morning and guards turned away a Reuters reporter, saying it had been closed for security reasons though private cars and ambulances were seen entering through a rear entrance. Ironically, the hotel and an adjacent facility were the site of an international conference promoting Saudi Arabia as an investment destination just 10 days ago attended by at least one of those now being held for questioning.

People on Twitter applauded the arrests of certain ministers with some comparing them to Germany's “the night of the long knives.” The arrest orders came from an anti-corruption committee just hours after the King Salman issued a Royal Decree to form the committee, which is headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The new body was given broad powers to investigate cases, issue arrest warrants and travel restrictions, and seize assets. “The homeland will not exist unless corruption is uprooted and the corrupt are held accountable,” the royal decree said.

As Reuters adds, the line between public funds and royal money is not always clear in Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarchy ruled by an Islamic system in which law is not systematically codified and no elected parliament exists. WikiLeaks has detailed the huge monthly stipends that every Saudi royal receives as well as various money-making schemes some have used to finance lavish lifestyles. In September the king announced that a ban on women driving would be lifted, while Prince Mohammed is trying to break decades of conservative tradition by promoting public entertainment and visits by foreign tourists.

Analysts say the arrests were another pre-emptive measure by the crown prince to remove powerful figures as he exerts control over the world’s leading oil exporter. Others have speculated that the move was a "countercoup" similar to that conducted in June by crown prince Mohammad bin Salman to cement his control on Saudi power.

The royal decree said the arrests were in response to “exploitation by some of the weak souls who have put their own interests above the public interest, in order to, illicitly, accrue money.”

The real reason behind the arrests: to shore up power, remove even more potential opponents and threats, all under the guise of cracking down on corruption, a page taken right out Xi Jinping playbook as he sought to - and eventually became last month's - China's quasi emperor.

The most recent crackdown breaks with the tradition of consensus within the ruling family, wrote James Dorsey, a senior fellow at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.


“Prince Mohammed, rather than forging alliances, is extending his iron grip to the ruling family, the military, and the National Guard to counter what appears to be more widespread opposition within the family as well as the military to his reforms and the Yemen war,” he said. Scholar Joseph Kechichian said the interests of the Al Saud, however, would remain protected.


“Both King Salman and heir apparent Mohammed bin Salman are fully committed to them. What they wish to instill, and seem determined to execute, is to modernize the ruling establishment, not just for the 2030 horizon but beyond it too,” he said.

Yet while Xi Jinping's demi-god status is safe - at least until China's middle class revolts - that of Mohammed bin Salman may be far more precarious in the coming weeks, especially if he overestimated his power and influence, and the two consecutive countercoups ultimately lead to precisely what he fears the most: a coup - either peaceful or not so much - that ultimately removes him from power.


Dame Ednas Possum Sun, 11/05/2017 - 12:00 Permalink

Most of the population will applaud this. The Bin Laden Group has left a trail of debt and destruction behind them. They are despised in business, not revered.And definitely on the out since their crane collapsed on pilgrims in Mecca.   

Manthong cossack55 Sun, 11/05/2017 - 12:14 Permalink

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 ..and in related news… Goat Contraceptives Amalgamated (GCA) is up 3 pts. on the TASI.

In reply to by cossack55

knukles BaBaBouy Sun, 11/05/2017 - 12:33 Permalink

Shit's getting mighty confusin' all 'round these days, what with stuff like that Spacey pedophilia defense; "Butt, butt, butt, I'm gay!"So, and Hillary's a Reptilian ans Still Ain't Your PresidentAnd y'all thought that the Donald was kidding about pedophilia on the campaign trail.Some people just don't listen

In reply to by BaBaBouy

veritas semper… knukles Sun, 11/05/2017 - 16:12 Permalink

"We" are on MBS( Mohammed Bin Salman)'s side the one doing the arrests and confiscating the wealth of the arrested princes.There was an attempt of coup from the more moderate preinces,the one arrested(who do not want war anymore),but  the See Eye Ayy alerted MBS. MBS is supported by Trump and I$rahell ,as he wants to continue the wars in the ME.See the Lebanon's PM,Hariri resignation and attempt to destabilise Lebanon.Hariri was offed after he snet an ambassador to Syria and had a high level talk with Iran.The House of Saud is a den of vipers,but the actual MBS is the most lethal one. And,of course,"we" ,continuing the US tradition of supporting the worst terrorist,tyrants,dictators  and mass murderers,are on his side.There is a great analysis at Moon of Alabama.

In reply to by knukles

Winston Churchill veritas semper… Sun, 11/05/2017 - 19:01 Permalink

Sometimes MoA gets it horribly wrong.I'm going with an attempted CIA regime change that was thwarted,the people arrested including bin Laden have always been very close to Langley.OBL was recruited at home,before he(supposedly) left the reservation,probably by his uncle.Its far more likely that Trump would want the King and heir gone at this point,not that he even has control of the CIAyet,they have their own agenda and Trumps wishes aren't even on their to do list,but they may coincide right now.

In reply to by veritas semper…

Dame Ednas Possum Chupacabra-322 Sun, 11/05/2017 - 12:40 Permalink

I'm referring to something the locals despise them for... not applaud! A few years ago I worked there for several months, when I saw coach service named 'Adolf Hitler'. Nice shiny new buses. Very popular and full of hajee pilgrims. It's all a matter of perspective. One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter etc. Kill 100 true believers and you're evil. Kill 3,000 infidels and you're a hero. Disclaimer: I'm an Aussie bloke. I don't have a dog in this fight. But the big, tax free income is welcome.  

In reply to by Chupacabra-322

Michael Musashi Dame Ednas Possum Sun, 11/05/2017 - 12:32 Permalink

No one should be surprised at any of this. All of these people have ties to Bush and Clinton. The Bush/Clinton establishment is crumbling here in the USA, so Saudi Arabia is being pro-active. When such a major establishment like the Bush/Clinton regime comes crumbling down, you start to see all the rats come running for cover and most won't survive.We are witnessing an end of a major chapter in USA history, and who knows how it will turn out for the world.

In reply to by Dame Ednas Possum

MoreFreedom Dame Ednas Possum Sun, 11/05/2017 - 15:57 Permalink

The recent annoucement by the Crown Prince to liberalize towards "moderate Islam" is a good sign.  Religion is used by the ruling class to oppress the citizens, and keep them under control.  I'd bet several of the arrested have been funding Islamic terrorism around the globe, if not just funding lots of mosques to promote thier oppressive religion.   I do hope the Crown Prince is truly weeding out the corrupt and oppressive in the ruling class.  We'll have to wait and see but IMHO, the signs are positive.

In reply to by Dame Ednas Possum

Number 9 Rainman Sun, 11/05/2017 - 12:20 Permalink

actually if you steal 100,000 you go to jail..steal 100 million and you go to congresssteal a couple trillion you can demolish buildings in ny, slam missiles into the pentagon, destroy most of the middle east, arm the police state to their teeth, pass draconian laws..and buy huge parcels in Paraguay..

In reply to by Rainman

2banana Sun, 11/05/2017 - 12:04 Permalink

Saudi Arabia:Bloody Yemen border war which the "professional and modern" SA military is losing to mountain tribesShias are on a constant state of rebellion in the eastISIS wahhabism coming home to roostCorrupt to the boneSupporters of islamic terrorism world wide They are going to get what they deserve. 

Miss Expectations Sun, 11/05/2017 - 12:16 Permalink

If you haven't heard of the NEOM project, you don't know what's going on.  They're going to build a Globalist Dream City (Hive).Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced the launch of NEOM on Tuesday, a project that aspires to be the “safest, most efficient, most future oriented, and best place to live and work” in the kingdom.NEOM’s land mass will extend across the Egyptian and Jordanian borders, rendering NEOM the first private zone to span three countries. The project will be backed by more than $500 billion over the coming years by Saudi Arabia.Wind and solar power will allow NEOM to be powered solely by regenerative energy, while 70 percent of the world’s population will be able to reach it within eight hours.  Saudi Crown Prince launches NEOM, a ‘$500bn investment in the future’http://english.alarabiya.net/en/business/economy/2017/10/24/Saudi-Crown…

Fireman Sun, 11/05/2017 - 12:54 Permalink

The head choppers in the fecal filled feudal Crypt of Saud are desperate, indulging in the slaughter of innocent blood in Yemen (where their oil is) and backed to the hilt by the Britland, ZOG and Pentacon mobsters. In a vain attempt to sate the drooling ghouls (which Merca calls its "second best" friends after the Khasarian apartheid mutt entity in Palestine) the cheese cloth anglozionazi axis of evil goads Iran for daring to fry the Saudi hairy goat wahhabi salafist takfiri filth in Syria not to mention tempting the Qatari mutts out of the Crypt with their Iranian gas deal. In 2017 the I$I$ "backed" IOU petroscrip Saudi Mercan toilet paper dollah will finally get plunged and flushed out of the Ponzi sewer of the chosen racer banksters on Wall St in the Potemkin Village (idiot) USSAN "economy" as a thousand debauched and effete, squealing Saudi princeling$ flee to Slumville USSA, the final refuge of mad dog terror as Saudi is "liberated" and its dried up oil fields burn. The way back to $100 dollah oil, incinerate the evil Crypt of Saud now and drive this Ferrari Revolution until the wheels fall off. https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/category/yemen/ 

Bai Suzhen Sun, 11/05/2017 - 13:00 Permalink

I knew things would quickly head south over there, once they let their women start to drive.  Looks like the House of Saud is just doing a Recep Erdogan.  Got to get them before they get you.  Not sure I'd be out of the country, if I was Trump.

Jack Oliver Sun, 11/05/2017 - 14:53 Permalink

Barack ( rhymes with Iraq )

Hussein ( Saddam Hussein )

Obama ( Osama )

It's a 'manufactured' FUCKING name !

Yes - We 'psy - oped' some folks - about 330 FUCKING million of them !!

vladiki Sun, 11/05/2017 - 16:03 Permalink

"The royal decree said the arrests were in response to 'exploitation by some of the weak souls who have put their own interests above the public interest, in order to, illicitly, accrue money.'”Ironic. Only when Trump or someone like him says that about WASHINGTON and WALL ST will this country get anywhere. Our problem isn't Finance, it's MORAL DECAY.

MaxThrust Sun, 11/05/2017 - 20:56 Permalink

I want to know why the author thinks all of this is so shocking?I am not shocked at all.Please stop telling me I should be shocked at Saudi's arresting other rich Saudi's. Familiy feuds have be going on since the dawn of time.