Saudi Arabia: Al Ula CEO arrested on corruption, money-laundering charges

Amr bin Saleh Abdulrahman AlMadani is accused of 'illegally obtaining' contracts to benefit a private company he co-owns

By AP

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Amr bin Saleh Abdulrahman Al Madani. Photo: AFP
Amr bin Saleh Abdulrahman Al Madani. Photo: AFP

Published: Tue 30 Jan 2024, 11:35 AM

Saudi Arabia has arrested CEO overseeing one of the kingdom's main pre-Islamic heritage sites on corruption charges, according to the government anti-corruption agency.

Royal Commission for Al Ula Chief Executive Amr bin Saleh Abdulrahman AlMadani is accused of abuse of authority and money laundering prior to joining the public sector, the Oversight and Anti-Corruption Authority (Nazaha) wrote on X late on Sunday.

Al Ula, the site of an ancient civilisation in a remote northwestern corner of the country, has become a key part of Saudi Arabia's marketing efforts to attract foreign tourists.

AlMadani allegedly illegally secured contracts for a company he co-owns from a government research entity via a relative, who along with two other accused had also been charged, Nazaha said.

AlMadani was also accused of recommending the same company he co-owns to the commission, which secured contracts with it worth 1.3 million riyals ($346,685), the government agency said.

AlMadani is accused of personally benefiting from the contracts he allegedly helped illegally secure.

AlMadani had been CEO of the commission since 2017. The RCU's website on Monday listed Abeer AlAkel as acting CEO.

AlMadani could not be immediately reached for comment on the statement issued by the Oversight and Anti-Corruption Authority, which was also carried by the state news agency. Reuters could not determine if AlMadani had any legal representation.

Al Ula is known chiefly for the tombs of Madain Saleh, a 2,000-year-old city carved into rocks by the Nabateans, the pre-Islamic Arab people who also built Petra in neighbouring Jordan. ($1 = 3.7498 riyals)

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