The Mobily (Etihad Etisalat) Telecommunications Case – Saudi Arabia
In today’s emerging stock market, more people are willing to utilize their wealth. The basics in entering the market is not only to learn about how to invest or to trade, to start an account, and to know how much money-starter you need, but also to carefully choose the company you are going to lend or entrust your finances to.
It is a common knowledge that companies with good ratios are preferred for investments. First-time investors look for the most available resources they could have. Among many are the publicly-posted financial statements. These FSs are just one click away to those who are interested but does not have good connections in looking at the industry position of listed companies. The mentioned statements, although by nature, are not certain because of estimates, are collective monetary and nonmonetary figures of company’s transactions within a period of time. These, therefore, shows the company’s value: should a layman wants to know how much profits were earned for a year or how much the yearly investments and withdrawals are, the FSs are surely useful to look at.
A corporation is born through capital investments and survives through, aside from gains from past capital, additional capital. It is but true that as the number of investors grows, the company also grows. Naturally speaking, the owners, the BOD, the management, or any related party to a certain company, wants its investment to be large enough to expand.
The management is responsible in financial reporting and the Board of Directors ensures that the management fulfils its responsibility and is ultimately responsible in reviewing and approving the FSs. This could mean that the management, together with the BOD, could easily manipulate its finances to entice the public to invest in their company. Managers commit accounting and auditing frauds to hide and window dress real business performance, to preserve personal status, to control and maintain personal income and wealth, and sometimes to preserve their ego.
This case made it possible for the Saudi Arabia to have their own Enron heated discussion: the Etilhad Etisalat (a.k.a Mobily) case.
Background of the case
The stock market would be a good indicator on how the scandals are being held in the kingdom since investors would be willing to invest in a country wherein there is low number of poor accountabilities. So, the higher the investors, the better the regulation applied, therefore, a high probability of a progressive economy. The KSA regulators have been put into pressure to restrain accountability issues because the kingdom was planning to open a market internationally.
The Mobily shareholders was so eager to market their shares internationally in which they wanted to check on the international capital. Surprisingly, them wanting access on such capital was the very reason why they uncovered a nightmare they have been unnoticeably suffering.
According to the Financial Times, the main issues that vented regarding the fraud investigation were the following:
Significant profit drop and restated earnings through 2013
Restatement of income from a loyalty program since 2013 amounting to $378 million, and;
Misaccounted revenues relating to the sale of top-up cards with handsets via third party vendors, restating revenues down by $1.7 million since the beginning of 2013, and
The mobile company started in 2004. The company was the darling of all investors in the Kingdom being the country’s second largest telecommunications company. Unlike most companies which just opened to competitions, Mobily, in its early years, say 2006, immediately reported profits. The company was surely a brilliant one until late 2014.
Arabianbusiness.com stated that the company was a “Market Darling”;
“Mobily’s rise was remarkable. It turned profitable in 2006, a year after launching operations, and annual profits soared 854 percent between then and 2013. Dividends jumped by a similar margin, propelling its shares to an eight-year high of 98.25 riyals last May. But the bumper payouts masked balance sheet weakness — receivables swelled to $2.7 billion by last June as Mobily struggled to collect revenues which it had booked. At the same time, the company’s borrowing surged, apparently to bolster dividend payouts and bridge a cash flow shortfall caused by delays in collecting revenues.”
In early November 2014, according to Jones (2015), the company revised down its profits for 2013 and the first half of 2014 by a total of 1.43 billion Saudi riyals ($381 million), citing accounting irregularities. In February 2015, it said it lost 913 million riyals in 2014, rather than the previous claim of 219 million riyals. The company, in 2013, overstated its revenues recognizing contracts in full that was still yet to mature.
In accounting in Saudi Arabia, revenues are only recognized when services has been delivered and obligations have been complete or virtually complete, not when contracted. The company, at first, claimed that the overstatements for the whole 27 months, was only due to accounting errors.
In the six months since Mobily first restated its earnings, its share price dropped 30 percent, roughly $9 billion of its market capitalization has been wiped away and its CEO was suspended. The company looked forward to sell its portfolio of telecom towers for up to $2 billion in a bid to raise cash. Along with that consequence, Deloitte and Touche, the auditing firm, has also been suspended from doing any business with listed Saudi companies by the country’s Capital Market Authority (Watfa, 2015).
Forming a deceitful or misleading impression around a company’s value, just like in the Philippines, is explicitly explained in Article 49 Saudi Arabian Capital Market Law. The law mentioned determined the penalties to be imposed in the company. Khalid Al-Kaf, the company’s CEO was suspended and to face a lawsuit filed by the regulators. A separate lawsuit was filed against nine suspects in Mobily Telecom (functions of the board, articles related to disclosure of financial information and duties of directors and senior executives (Reuters, 2015).
In May, the Capital Market Authority “recommended nine current or former officials at Mobily Telecom be prosecuted for violations that included insider trading, a week after the regulator confirmed more than one person was suspected of violating regulations on such conduct” (Reuters, 2015).
The suspects were found guilty on January as the Saudi Arabia’s Committee for the Resolution of Securities Disputes (CRSD) concluded them guilty of providing insider information and of insider trading in Mobily’s shares.
Figure SEQ Figure * ARABIC 1. CEO Khalid Al-Kaf removed from position after accounting issues
Some of those 9 were Abdulaziz Alsaghyir to pay $75 million, Hisham bin Abdulaziz bin Saleh Alsaghyir and Faisal bin mohammed bin Abdulmohsen Alashgar to pay 100,000 riyals each, and Mohammed bin Abdulmohsen bin Mohammed Alashgar to pay 200,000 riyals. Just like what happened to Deloitte, all of them were banned from working in Saudi-listed company, managing portfolios or working as investment advisers.
French & Al Sayegh (2015) wrote “The regulator said the reasons for the CRSD lawsuit included ‘not ensuring the integrity of the financial and accounting systems including those related to preparing the financial reports of 2013 and 2014, not ensuring the implementation of appropriate control systems to manage risk, and not carrying out their duties in such a way as to serve the interest of the company'”. The lawsuit and the Capital Market Authority was determined that the executives have not ensured what they were supposed to practice.
Due to the difficulties Mobily Telecom was facing, the remaining board members were able to revise responsibilities. Looking inward, the analysts were adaptable to the changes by agreeing to meet with management teams more frequently, which put more responsibility on the divisions and held them accountable for appropriation of funding (Rashad & Al Sayegh, 2015).
Review of Related Literature
The issue was not after all just about the misappropriation of the Mobily executives but also with the Capital Market Authority (CMA). The CMA, after referring the company to the public prosecutor, was therefore in a hot pot because of criticisms about them being too harsh on listed companies. This points out the country’s “culture of a saving face: meaning reprimands by regulators against individuals are often not made public” (Jones, R., 2015). This was unusual to the Kingdom for it is leading to fines and penalties. But the CMA remained to stand firm and defended that it was just about them pushing for a stronger corporate governance and transparency at local companies.
Later being told that they were too harsh on companies, the chairman of the CMA, Mohammed Aljadaan, told “we are going to be more aggressive actually”. The regulators pointed out that they were going to get tough on “potentially errant companies” after the Mobily scandal.
As mentioned a while ago, Deloitte and Touche LLP was banned on doing business within the country. It was the regulator who made it possible for them to be barred. They issued a notice to all companies it was holding to withdraw from using the firm’s audit services while it was still in an investigation of the firm’s client; though, it did not mention the company’s identity. Deloitte, on the other hand, stated that it was fully cooperating with the regulatory board.
Aside from the Mobily, “in the first quarter of 2015, the regulator fined 48 companies a total of about 1.74 million riyals for various market-related offenses, according to Mubasher, an information firm. That is nearly 50% of the value of fines imposed in the whole of 2014”, Jones (2015) said.
According to Daniel Broby, chief executive of British-based Gemfonds, an emerging market fund specialist, “The earnings restatement will weigh heavily on investor sentiment towards all Saudi companies because Mobily was considered a blue chip”.
A blue chip is a nationally recognized, well-established, and financially sound company. Blue chips generally sell high-quality, widely accepted products and services. Blue chip companies are known to weather downturns and operate profitably in the face of adverse economic conditions, which helps to contribute to their long record of stable and reliable growth. The name “blue chip” came about from the game of poker in which the blue chips have the highest value. (Source: Investopedia.com)
In addition, he also said, “Restatements happen, but the number of accounting areas that were addressed is where the cause for concern lies.” Considering the issue as not really about just a simple accounting error but a huge fraud case, it is expected to have a great impact; an impact not just in the company itself, but for the whole industry. Relative to other companies, Mobily was one of the companies who could have attracted a huge foreign money. Its fall from above would surely give all potential investors second thoughts.
Mobily appears to have little option but to rethink its dividend policy. “Management said historical dividend payout levels were based on overstated earnings figures and were not related to actual free cash flow,” EFG brokerage wrote. The problems have sent Mobily’s stock tumbling. Meanwhile, Mobily accrued about 18.3 billion riyals of borrowings from 2012 to the third quarter of 2014, which are due to be repaid in 2017-2024.This lifted the ratio of net debt to earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) to 3.55, Reuters data shows. That compares with ratios for Dubai’s du and Vodafone Qatar, which are also single-country operators, of 0.77 and 1.82. Okandan, however, insisted Mobily’s level of borrowing was not a concern. “There are many global telco companies having similar or higher net debt to EBITDA ratios,” he said. “The liquidity available is abundant. This ratio is easily manageable.”
Together with the issue on Mobily was the Mohammad Al-Mojil Group case (MMG). These two cases have been named to be the Enron cases of Saudi Arabia with almost the same situation.
In July 2012, the trading in Mohammad Al-Mojil (MMG)’s shares was suspended. MMG went public in 2008 after years of phenomenal growth. The company pursued an aggressive growth strategy by out-pricing competitors. However, the strategy failed miserably when profit abruptly went down due to additional costs. The company lost significance amount of money which led to constant management and board reshuffle. A number of MMG board members and executives might be prosecuted over possible violations of company laws.
An announcement distributed on the CMA’s official site named nine litigants engaged with the case — including board individuals, senior officials and Deloitte — for damaging articles of the Capital Market Law and Market Conduct Regulations. It pursues a last controlling achieved Wednesday by the Committee for the Resolution of Securities Disputes (CRSD), following an underlying choice made on June 18, 2016. It centers on “practices that created a misleading and incorrect impression regarding the value of Mohammed Al-Mojil Group Company’s security during the IPO stage of the company’s shares.”
A later news by Lulwa Shalhoub had been posted on February 2017 with regards to this particular case.
Included with the 9 named perpetrators of the Mohammed Al-Mojil Group (MMG) case was the renowned accounting firm, Deloitte. The final ruling imposed “jail terms and a SR1.6 billion fine among the penalties confirmed”.
One of the nine perpetrators was the company’s chairman of the board, Mohammed bin Hamad Al-Mojil. According to another news from Reuters, he was subjected to a 1.62 billion (in Saudi riyals) penalty. Together with this was a separate 300 000 (in Saudi riyals) fine. Also, he had a 5-year prison term and a 10-year ban on working with all listed companies in the Kingdom.
It was the CMA who imposed the penalties due to “illegal profits” and other irregularities during the builder’s initial public offering (IPO).
Adel Al-Mojil and his dad Mohammed were prior discovered liable of control and misrepresentation identified with the MMG’s IPO in 2008, the organization’s decision that was depended on “fundamentally flawed” proof. Upon the underlying decision in June 2016, the Al-Mojil family disclosed to Reuters they “were not given a chance to react to ascertain the evidence utilized against them”.
Together with Deloitte, Baker Bin Abdullah Abu Al-Khair was also prevented in providing legal accounting services in Saudi Arabia for two years which started in 2015. Arab News contacted both and said they are set to resume audit services from June 2017.
“The Firm appreciates the Saudi Capital Market Authority’s role in regulating the Saudi capital markets. The Firm reiterates its commitment to work with all regulatory bodies in Saudi Arabia towards a first rate capital market in the Kingdom” a representative of the firm said.
The CMA also reiterated that separate cases were to be filed against violations during and after the IPO stage.
“CMA clarifies to the public that the decision convicts the defendants of the violations committed during the IPO stage; CRSD has not considered the violations occurred after the IPO regarding manipulating the company’s financial statements, as such violations will come in a separate case files before the committee,” it said.
The 11 rulings confirmed were:
Mohammed Bin Hamad Bin Abdulkarim Al-Mojil: Fined SR300,000, a five-year jail term upheld, obliged to pay SR1.62 billion to the CMA’s account for “illegal profits” achieved as a result of these violations”, and banned from from working in listed companies for 10 years.
Adel Bin Mohammed Bin Hamad Al-Mojil: Fined SR300,000, imprisoned for five years, banned from working in listed companies for ten years.
Fahad Bin Ali Bin Saad Al-Raqtan: Fined SR300,000, imprisoned for three years, banned from working in listed companies for seven years.
Jassim Bin Mohammed Bin Ali Al-Ansari: Fined SR300,000, banned from working in listed companies for five years.
Abdullah Bin Mohammed Bin Saad Al-Hariqi: Fined SR300,000, banned from working in listed companies for five years.
Zaki bin Mansour Bin Ahmed AbuAlsaud: Fined SR300,000, banned from working in listed companies for five years.
Ahmed Bin Nasser Bin Yaqoub Al-Suwaidan: Fined SR300,000, banned from working in listed companies for five years.
Deloitte authorization no. (96) issued by SOCPA: Fined SR300,000, prevented from providing any legal accounting for authorized persons or any securities’ issuer for a period of two years, in a ban starting in 2015.
Baker Bin Abdullah Abu Alkhair: Fined SR300,000, banned from providing any legal accounting for authorized persons, or any securities’ issuer for a period of two years, in a ban starting in 2015.
Maintaining the confinement and the travel ban on the first defendant, Mohammed Bin Hamad Bin Abdulkarim Al-Mojil, until the repayment of all amounts under this decision.
Maintaining the travel ban of the second defendant, Adel Bin Mohammed Bin Hamad Al-Mojil, until the repayment of all amounts under this decision.
Source: Bloomberg.com as cited by Reuters
Another blast that shuddered Saudi Arabia was the Saudi family, Saad Group Fraud against Britain. Following is an article from Bloomberg posted in www.telegraph.co.uk that summarizes what happened in the case.
Maan Al Sanea, the boss of the Saad Group, which owns 2.9pc of HSBC and a stake in Berkeley Group, was first accused of embezzling $9.2bn (£5.6bn) from one of Saudi Arabia’s most powerful families, the Algosaibis, as part of a complicated and increasingly bitter legal row between the two dynasties.
Figure SEQ Figure * ARABIC 2 The Kingdom Tower stands in the night above the Saudi capital Riyadh
The Dubai bank in New York sued the Algosaibis due to an alleged non-payment of a hundred and fifty millions of dollars. The Algosaibis, though, filed that the missing money was a result of Mr. Al Sanea (formerly head of a financial division of the family’s empire), who used their name to do transasctions without their knowledge, as their denfense.
They alleged that the known Mr. Al Sanea was borrowing money under the family’s name over the years still without their knowledge and permission.
Mr Al Sanea denied all the allegations. He claimed he was being used as a scapegoat for a wider financial malaise in Ahmed Hamad Algosaibi and Brothers Company (AHAB), the flagship part of Algosaibi’s powerful business empire.
A spokesperson for Saad told The Sunday Telegraph: “AHAB’s involvement of Saad in court next week represents a continuation of the baseless, yet public, campaign it has chosen to wage. Saad will respond fully to all of these claims through the proper judicial process and definitively demonstrate their lack of any foundation.”
The case was a rare public rift in the normally tight family and financial relations in the Middle East. But it will be watched around the world since Mr Al Sanea, a Kuwaiti-born former fighter pilot, presides over a powerful and complex global empire in property and finance which could be unwound if the court case goes against him.
Forensic accountants estimate that Mr Al Sanea has at least another $10bn of loans with international banks, including Barclays, JP Morgan, Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank, which he used to buy both business and personal assets.
The Algosaibi group, which was also thought to have large lending arrangements with international banks, is one of the Gulf’s most respected family conglomerates which controls the country’s Pepsi bottling plants among other industrial assets. The Saad Group, which had been rated by both Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s, also has vast international reach and had assets of $30.6bn by the end of 2008. However, as a result of the onslaught of the credit crisis, both the Saad Group and parts of the Algosaibi Empire were undergoing substantial restructuring of their corporate debts.
Court documents, seen by The Sunday Telegraph, show that the case was being brought by Mashreqbank, a Dubai-based bank, which claims AHAB owes it $150m as a result of a foreign exchange contract. Mashreqbank says AHAB defaulted on the payment earlier this year. AHAB argued it “was not aware of the transaction” until it received legal notice from Mashreqbank.
In the documents, AHAB said: “Upon investigation, AHAB learned that its former employee, Maan Al Sanea, organised a fraud in which he entered into certain transactions, such as the one alleged in the complaint, in order to engineer the receipt of funds into accounts in the name of AHAB which he then diverted to his own use. The transactions arranged by Al Sanea were entirely for his own benefit.”
As a result, AHAB has added Mr Al Sanea as a “third party plaintiff” in a case effectively claiming that any liability to Mashreqbank was Saad’s, not theirs. The court documents accuses Mr Al Sanea of “massive fraud” and alleges that he “misappropriated approximately $10bn (£6bn) as a result of his frauds”.
Insiders said the feud has its roots in problems that emerged at the same time in Bahrain’s banking sector. In May, Bahrain-based The International Banking Corporation (TIBC), which is owned by AHAB, defaulted. Mr Al Sanea also owns a Bahrain-based bank, Awal, and there was market speculation that he may have been involved in TIBC. The relevance of the Bahrain banks in the feud was not clear.
This weekend Saad told The Sunday Telegraph that Mr Al Sanea has had nothing to do with the Al Gosaibi business dealings since 2006 when he quit as head of their Money Exchange unit. Saad said: “Although Mr Al Sanea has long had personal relations with the partners of AHAB, neither Maan Al Sanea nor any related business entity is a partner or has any ownership interest whatsoever in AHAB or in any of its related entities, nor do they have any business ties except on an arm’s length commercial basis.”
Mashreqbank was expected to argue that its quarrel is with AHAB, not Mr Al Sanea.
After Mashreqbank first claimed for the $150m in May, AHAB filed complaints in Saudi Arabia and the Cayman Islands where many of Mr Al Sanea’s companies are based.
The Saudi central bank ordered Mr Al Sanea’s personal and family bank accounts to be frozen while a Cayman Islands court ordered a worldwide freeze of his assets worth $9.2bn.
The impact of the feud began to be felt in Britain in June when shares in Berkeley were rocked when Saad suddenly sold half its stake, sending shares in the UK housebuilder plunging to their lowest level since last autumn. Saad was seen as a long-term core investor and partner for Berkeley, and formerly held just under 38m shares, equivalent to 29pc of the total equity. Saad is now thought to own around 2pc of Berkeley. Also in June Saad sold 4pc of its stake in 3i Infrastructure.
At the time Saad said that it was carrying out a debt restructuring because of a “short-term liquidity squeeze” relating to some of its banking assets in the Middle East.
Then Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s, the ratings agencies, withdrew their coverage of Saad, saying that they lacked adequate information to maintain the ratings.
Saad said: “We are continuing to make progress with the restructuring plan announced last week and will update you further in due course.”
The problems at the Algosaibi and Saad groupshave sent tremors through the Gulf’s tight-knit banking community which prides itself on honour and faultless high standards.
The highly contentious spat between these two power-bases is said to have almost paralysed lending to the private sector.
Together the conglomerates could owe a raft of Saudi and international banks as much as $20bn, analysts estimate.
Both companies’ debt restructuring talks have been complicated by the allegations of foul play. Experts warn the legal proceedings – which look set to get more complicated – could now take many years to work through and resolve.
Saad Group’s investments
3i Infrastructure: 3pc
Petra Diamonds Ltd: 44pc
Imagination Tech Group plc: 7.5pc
Accsys Technologies plc: 10pc
Westide Corp Ltd: 18.5pc
Reneuron Group: 10.7pc
Uruguay Mineral Exploration: 10.2pc
Intelligent Environments Group: 4.25pc
Eatonfield Group Plc: 29.8pc
Chromex Mining plc: 3.8pc
Berkeley Group: c.
The actions undertaken after the investigation of numerous fraud scandals paved the affected parties’ ways to enhance their regulations and governance to each of their companies. The current and potential shareholders also had their risk consciousness increased to prevent mismanagement of their own finances.
Along with this is on how the companies adapted after the Mobily dispute. Following is an article from reuters.com:
MIDEAST MONEY-Saudi firms tighten controls in wake of Mobily scandal
By Marwa Rashad and Hadeel Al Sayegh
RIYADH/DUBAI, April 5 (Reuters) – When Saudi Cable Co said last month it was delaying the release of its 2014 earnings statement, because it was still compiling information required by an external auditor, it was a sign of growing regulatory pressure on companies in the kingdom.
Regulators are signalling they want corporate managements to tighten governance and strengthen internal controls as the $500 billion Saudi stock market prepares to open up to direct foreign investment in the next few months.
The process has become more urgent since an accounting scandal erupted at telecommunications firm Mobily, which in February revised its 2014 earnings to a loss of $243 million from the $58.6 million profit previously claimed.
The Mobily affair, and the probe into it launched by the Capital Market Authority (CMA), have prompted many company managements, board members and even major shareholders to become more conscious of risk, executives and analysts say.
“What happened has set the alarm bills ringing and pushed board members to revise their roles, made investors carefully check financial statements, and caused company managements to review their accounts carefully,” said Turki Fadaak, head of research and advisory services at AlBilad Capital in Riyadh.
“It has made us, the analysts, keen on meeting with company managements more often, and caused us to look more carefully at everything being said and everything that managements announce.”
One sign of the new mood is that the fees charged by some auditors are rising as demand for their services grows.
“The risks associated with what happened to the listed companies have caused companies to raise their fees,” said a partner at a regional auditing firm, speaking on condition of anonymity because of commercial sensitivities.
He added that his own firm’s business had grown substantially in the last few months as some customers began to find fees charged by the big international auditors too steep.
Another sign of the regulatory pressure is a rise in fines levied by the CMA on listed companies for violations such as inadequate disclosure of information. They rose 46 percent from a year earlier to 1.83 million riyals ($488,000) in the first quarter of this year – not a huge burden for the companies involved, but a signal of the regulator’s intentions.
The CMA is acting to ensure a successful stock market opening, which is an important part of the government’s strategy to create jobs and diversify the economy beyond oil, said a Gulf executive who does business in Saudi Arabia.
“They have no choice but to step in, otherwise Saudi as a market will lose credibility and people won’t invest.
“Companies are preparing themselves to become more disciplined and regulated because they realise they will be questioned more. The sooner they begin this process, the less expensive it will be.”
Saudi Arabia has a relatively good reputation for corporate governance in the Arab world, and the Mobily debacle – which the firm attributed to excessive booking of revenue from wholesale broadband leases and mobile promotional campaigns – does not necessarily indicate a string of scandals waiting to explode. The CMA is viewed by fund managers as one of the strictest stock market regulators in the Middle East.
But the Mobily shock came at a time when regulators were already grappling with another thorny case, that of construction firm Mohammad Al-Mojil Group (MMG). The firm ran into financial trouble several years ago and has had its shares suspended since July 2012 because of its accumulated losses.
Last November, the CMA advised companies to stop engaging the local unit of international accountancy firm Deloitte & Touche for audits from June 1, 2015, according to a circular seen by Reuters.
The CMA said its decision was due to a case involving a firm which it did not identify; Deloitte also declined to identify the firm, but said it believed its audit of the client met applicable standards. Industry sources said the firm was MMG.
Authorities increased the pressure on both MMG and Mobily last month by raising the prospect of prosecuting individuals.
The CMA said it was investigating the possibility of insider trading of Mobily shares. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Commerce said it had referred a number of MMG board members to the Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution over possible violations of the companies’ law. It did not identify the board members.
The decision “comes as part of a plan by the ministry to tighten oversight of violating companies and take necessary steps to protect shareholder capital,” the ministry said.
One regulatory reform that may emerge from the MMG and Mobily affairs, some analysts believe, is clarification of which part of the government is responsible for supervising auditors.
At present the Ministry of Commerce supervises chartered accountants while the Saudi Organisation for Certified Public Accountants, a private body, develops and reviews auditing standards. Some securities analysts believe such authority should be consolidated under the CMA to avoid any confusion.
“Some entity like the PCAOP (Public Company Accounting Oversight Board) in the United States should be established in Saudi to monitor auditors, and it should be under the umbrella of the CMA,” said Mazen al-Sudairi, head of research at al-Istithmar Capital in Riyadh.
John Sfakianakis, Riyadh-based Middle East director of the Ashmore Group, an investment firm, said the furor over corporate irregularities at major Saudi companies would in the long term be a blessing in disguise.
“Both investors and companies will now look at the things they need to avoid,” he said. (Editing by Andrew Torchia)
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