JEDDAH — MBI International, owned by Saudi businessman Muhammad Bin Issa Al-Jaber, has filed a counter lawsuit against Standard Bank, accusing it of illegal tactics and industrial espionage.
The lawsuit alleges Standard Bank hid vital information and recruited a spy to supply inside information just months after starting work at MBI International.
A source in London said the bank relations manager at MBI International is a Lebanese national and a double agent who falsified information and carried out illegal banking operations.
“He used the personal accounts of the group to cover losses of $96 million the bank incurred. He traded in currencies and with this he made the group bear debts and other matters,” the source said.
The man worked with the MBI International from April 2007 until he was fired in June 2010 on suspicion of illegal operations.
“MBI International was shocked two weeks ago when one of its current employees presented a contract between the bank and the sacked manager,” the source said.
This was after a year of Standard Bank denying any such relationship existed.
In the case, a former senior Standard Bank employee has expressed his willingness to testify that the bank was involved in illegal operations against MBI International.
Standard Bank funds in Britain have been frozen temporarily but the group’s work inside and outside the United Kingdom is normal.
The source said the Standard Bank exerted pressure on MBI International to cover for its lack of monitoring on currency deals and hid the agreement signed with the former employee of the group and the bribe.
The former employee of the MBI International was the only manager responsible for the bank relations and the only person dealing with Standard Bank.
The source said that the amount the bank demands from the group is very little compared with the financial damage the bank caused to MBI International directly and indirectly through dealing illegally with the fired employee.
The total assets of the MBI International group in Saudi Arabia alone are estimated at over SR5 billion.
The Standard Bank tried to freeze the accounts of the MBI International all over the world and cost the group losses of over $1.6 billion. It also seized a group of hotels owned by the group in Britain.
Last year it froze the accounts of Muhammad Bin Issa Al-Jaber. Standard Bank maintained this was due to the non-payment of loans given to his companies.