Saudi Arabia pays SR40 billion owed to contractors

With money flow resuming, work on stalled projects is likely to start again.
Updated 21 November 2016

Saudi Arabia pays SR40 billion owed to contractors

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has made a payment of SR40 billion it owed to private companies, in less than two weeks after Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, chairman of the Council for Economic and Development Affairs, announced a settlement of dues to the contractors.

The payment was late due to a sharp decline in oil revenue and the new measures taken by the Kingdom to reduce spending on several projects.

“The Saudi government is expected to pay up to 80 percent of the total dues to contractors during the remaining few weeks of this year by disbursing another SR100 billion,” said Fahad Al-Hammadi, chief of the National Contractors’ Committee at the Council of Saudi Chambers, here Saturday.

The funds released by the Kingdom will help the companies to pay what is owed to foreign workers, and will create cash flow in the market.
Speaking to Arab News, Al-Hammadi confirmed that the contracting companies have received SR40 billion, which represents 25 percent of their dues from different government agencies.

He said that “more than 80 percent of the backlogged payments will be released within the next few days or weeks.”

Giving more details of the payment and predicting a growth in the contracting sector, he said that most of the projects, which were suspended earlier, will be revived and implemented in order of priority.

He said that the construction sector is the key driving sector of the Saudi economy, which prompts and creates demand for building materials, cement, and transport, besides creating job opportunities.

Referring to the efforts that will boost the construction and contracting sector, Al-Hammadi said that “a new positive phase for the construction and building sector has come following a package of measures taken by the Council for Economic and Development Affairs at its meeting on Nov. 7 under the leadership of Prince Mohammed bin Salman.”

The council has discussed the mechanism on how to pay the contractors with the highest degree of transparency.

The council has also laid down “the necessary procedures in detail to pay the amounts owed to the private sector from the public treasury.”

Some of the contractors from Germany, Turkey, Spain and India, contacted by Arab News Saturday, confirmed that they are being paid their dues.

US court orders Iran to pay $879 million to 1996 Khobar bombing survivors

Updated 10 July 2020

US court orders Iran to pay $879 million to 1996 Khobar bombing survivors

  • The court ruled that the Iranian government directed and provided material for the attack
  • The Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia were housing US forces when it was bombed in 1996

DUBAI: A United States federal court held Iran responsible for the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia where US forces were housed, and ordered Tehran to pay $879 million to survivors. 

The Khobar Towers was a housing complex in the eastern city of Khobar, near the Abdulaziz Air Base and Saudi Aramco’s headquarters in Dhahran, that housed American servicemen working on Operation Southern Watch.

A truck bomb was detonated on June 25, 1996, near an eight-story building of the housing complex, which killed 19 US Air Force personnel and a Saudi national and wounded 498 others.

The court ruled that the Iranian government directed and provided material support to Hezbollah who detonated the 5,000-pound truck bomb, a Chicago law firm press release said. The attackers reportedly smuggled the explosives used in the attack from Lebanon. 

The lawsuit was brought under the terrorism exception of the US Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act by the 14 injured US airmen and 21 of their immediate family members.

The defendants in the case were listed as the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security.



“We will continue to seek to hold the Government of Iran accountable for this terrorist attack as long as is necessary,” said Adora Sauer, the lead attorney of MM LAW LLC.

US District Judge Beryl A. Howell found the defendants liable and awarded the plaintiffs $132 million for pain and suffering, as well as prejudgment interest, for a total compensatory damage award of $747 million and $132 million for punitive damages.

The court also said the plaintiffs are eligible for partial payments from the US Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund, which compensates American victims of acts of international terrorism with funds obtained from fines and forfeitures levied against companies caught illegally laundering money for sanctioned countries and persons. 

The attorneys also intend to pursue enforcement of the judgments through litigation intended to seize Iranian assets.

“The physical and psychological toll on our families has been extremely high, but this judgment is welcome news. More than 20 years on, we want the world to remember the evil that Iran did at the Khobar Towers. Through the work of our attorneys, we intend to do just that,” said Glenn Christie, a retired Air Force staff sergeant crew chief who was severely injured in the bombing.

“The massive explosion took so much from their minds and bodies on the day of the attack in 1996 and every day and night since then. They can now live with that balance justice provides,” according to John Urquhart of the Urquhart Law Firm, who also represents the bombing victims.