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Bin Laden clansman freed by Saudi authorities

Saudi Arabia has released construction tycoon Bakr Bin Laden after more than three years since he was detained as part of a corruption crackdown in 2017, two sources told Reuters on Thursday.

The former chairman of Saudi Bin Ladin group and a half-brother of Osama bin Laden, was released a few days ago but is still barred from travel, the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.

His brother, Saad, was released a few months ago, and is also under a travel ban, said one of the sources.

No charges have been made public against Bakr bin Laden, who is 75. He could not be reached, and the Saudi authorities did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The government’s media office did not respond to an emailed request for comment during an official holiday.

Bakr Bin Laden has for years run the unlisted Saudi Binladin Group, which is owned by his family. It had been the Saudi royal family’s preferred building contractor until falling out of favour from 2015.

He was detained as part of a sweeping crackdown on corruption ordered in November 2017 by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Saudi authorities said the campaign recovered more than $106 billion through settlements with scores of senior princes, ministers and top businessmen.

Two of his brothers, Saleh and Saad, as well as senior executives in the family firm, were among more than 200 detained in the anti-corruption drive.

The government then appointed three representatives and two other brothers to oversee the running of the country’s largest builder before the three brothers, Bakr, Saleh and Saad, eventually transferred their combined 36.2% stake to the state in April 2018.

The authorities have also seized family homes, luxury cars, private jets and jewelry as part of settlements for the men’s release, sources have said.

Bakr was temporarily released in January 2019 to attend a funeral.

Binladin, which had over 100,000 employees at its height, was important to Riyadh’s plans for large real estate, industrial and tourism projects to help diversify the economy beyond oil.

The group has since last year been in talks to refinance billions of dollars in debt.

Source: US News & World Report

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