On Friday 107 people were killed and more than 200 injured after a crane crashed onto Mecca's Grand Mosque, and one construction company was in charge of that crane: the Saudi Binladin Group.
The construction conglomerate has been a source of controversy in the past, and the accident that struck Mecca during the company's massive reconstruction opens the door to greater criticism. Saudi Arabia on Tuesday announced it would suspend the new contracts, review the group's other existing projects and bar the construction giant's board members from travel.
The company's response to the tragedy didn't help matters. An engineer for the project said the crane was operated professionally and that the incident had been an "act of God," Middle East Eye reported.
So as relations sour between the kingdom and the Saudi powerhouse, here are a few things you should know about the company.
1. The Saudi Binladin Group was founded by Osama bin Laden's father, Mohammed bin Laden Sayyid, in the 1930s. Bakr bin Laden, Osama's brother, is now in charge as chairman of the board based in Jeddah.
2. The bin Laden family, whose wealth totals over $7 billion, consistently places as one of the wealthiest businessowners in the Arab world.
3. The Binladin Group's close relationship with the Saudi government has left the family in charge of $27 billion worth of reconstruction in Mecca, making Hajj pilgrimages a lucrative business for them.
4. To name an odd coincidence, Wired reported the company's former Internet domain name, saudi-binladin-group.com, was pre-set to expire on Sept. 11, 2001, the same day of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda attacks on New York.
By Hayat Norimine
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