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Bin Laden family on top 10 Arab rich list

December 27, 2012

Osama Bin Laden’s family places #7 among the fifty wealthiest businessmen and families of the Arab world for 2012 according to Arabian Business.  The Bin Ladens continue to be awarded lucrative public contracts by the government of Saudi Arabia—our “ally” in the global war against terror.

Unlike the Saudi oilmen who made their wealth directly from petrodollars, the Bin Ladens have always benefited from Saudi Arabia’s second largest business—the hajj—and the construction and logistical support the massive annual pilgrimage requires.  (Of course, the money for the public contracts wouldn’t be there without the kingdom’s oil wealth.)

Arabian Business explains the family’s rising fortunes:

As Saudi government spending keeps rising, so do the fortunes of the Gulf’s most prominent family construction empire. Last year, the Binladin Group won deals to construct Prince Alwaleed’s Kingdom Tower and the expansion of the King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah. Between then the contracts are worth over $20bn. Adding to those deals was a bumper contract to help build the first phase of the Haramain railway link.

The family fortune is based on a construction business that paid immense dividends when decades ago it was awarded contracts for major renovations at Mecca and other religious buildings in Saudi Arabia and abroad. Founded by Mohammed Binladin, the family also built several palaces in Riyadh and Jeddah for the royal family and carried out restoration work following an arson attack on Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque in 1969. Salem, Mohammed’s eldest son, ran the empire left behind by his father upon his death in 1968 until he died when his private plane crashed in Texas in 1988.

Mohammed left 54 sons and daughters from several marriages…

And we’ll always remember the most famous of his sons, for whose victims this wealthy family should be paying restitution.

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