Bin Laden Group

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The bin Laden Group is "a construction empire based in the Saudi city of Jidda [that] made its fortune in building projects for the Saudi royal family."[1]

According to the January 16, 2002 article by Jean-Francois Numainville in The World Journal, "Bin Laden Group Takes Care of Business", "Despite the huge shockwave that followed the events of September the 11th 2001, it is surprising to see that not only Bin Laden Group is staying in operation, but also that business is looking good. In fact, the reputation of the corporation remained intact, and future projects are pilling up for the Saudi Arabia based business.

"The Bin Laden Group is currently participating to various fields of activities including telecommunications, real estate and oil production. All the projects of the corporation are concentrated within the Arabian Peninsula, although it as an office and a few proprieties in the United-Sates and in Europe as well.

"After its foundation in the 1950s by Mohamed bin Laden, the family's patriarch, the group relied on quality work and a close relationship with Al-Saoud royal family to ensure success in the business world. During five decades of growth, the Bin Laden group underwent several transformations, since its foundation in Saudi Arabia, spreading its activities throughout Middle East. Specialists are now estimating the value of the conglomerate at approximately 533 million dollars. The company also avoided American sanctions towards organizations suspected of terrorist activities simply because it has nothing to do with it. Despite an incriminating name, the Bin Laden group has a clean record: The family rejected Osama after the royal family withdrawn is Saudi citizenship for implication in anti-government actions.

"Furthermore, a family member who preferred to remained anonymous, declared that no contacts where made with the Al-Qaeda leader since then. Also, to avoid any unfortunate misunderstandings, Bin Laden Telecommunication changed its name to Baud Telecommunications Company (BTC) in 1999. Interestingly, before he got banned, the sometimes-called 'Great Evil' did played a role in the company's activities by using his civil engineering background. It is known that he took part in the corporation for more than a decade by participating and occasionally supervising projects for the family. He mostly invested his time among the members of Bin Laden Group working on the construction and rebuilt of mosques.

"Currently, the company is working on the largest building project in the Arabian Peninsula: The construction of 11 residential towers, another thousand apartments as well as a 5 stars hotel with 1200 rooms in the city of Riyadh. The project, marked at a value of several million of dollars should complete by the year 2006.

"Obviously, the wealth of the Bin Laden family is originating from the enormous commercial success of their company. We know that at the death of the founder of the Corporation, Mohammed, the Bin Laden fortune was at around 350 million dollar. What we don't know is how much of it is in control of the black sheep of the family. Osama has 54 brothers and sister sharing the family's fortune, and about 10 to 15 million are in control of the world most wanted fugitive."

"The [bin Laden] family's wealth came from the Saudi bin Laden Group, built by Osama bin Laden's father Mohamed, who had four wives and 52 children. Mohamed had had the good luck of befriending the country's founder, Abdel Aziz al Saud. That relationship led to important government contracts such as refurbishing the shrines at Mecca and Medina, Islam's holiest places, projects that moved young Osama deeply. Today the company, with 35,000 employees worldwide, is worth $5 billion. Osama got his share at 13 when his father died, l eaving him $80 million, a fortune the son subsequently expanded to an estimated $250 million."[2]

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