Saudi suspends Binladin Group over Makkah crane crash


DUBAI: Saudi Arabia suspended major construction company Binladin Group from new contracts following the Makkah crane crash that killed 107 people and ordered the finance ministry to review its existing projects, the Royal Court said on Tuesday.


The Royal Court also announced that families of victims of will each receive one million Riyals as compensation.


King Salman also ordered that all members of the board and senior executives be prevented from travelling abroad after an investigation into last week’s incident showed the crane had been erected in a way that deviated from manufacturer’s instructions, causing it to crash in high wind.


Explaining the action, an official statement referred without elaborating to the responsibility and “shortcomings” of the company following an investigation into the crane crash that also injured 238 other people.


The king ordered that the Binladin Group be prevented from entering into new bids or new projects, said the statement, carried by state news agency SPA. The suspension would remain in force until the investigation is complete and until all legal cases are settled.


The crane toppled over at Makkah’s Grand Mosque last Friday, less than two weeks before the annual Hajj pilgrimage.


Pakistani, Indonesian and Indian pilgrims were among those killed when the crane collapsed, while the injured included Malaysians, Egyptians, Iranians, Turks, Afghans and Pakistanis.


The Binladin Group, one of the largest contracting companies in the kingdom, had been carrying expansion work at the Grand Mosque. It was founded more than 80 years ago by the father of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, and is run by Osama’s brother Bakr.


An engineer for the Binladin Group on Saturday had said the crane had been installed in “an extremely professional way” and that there had been no technical problem. “The accident had been an act of God.”


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