Saudi royals-Dutch corporate bribery scandal

This video says about itself:

Causeway Saudi Arabia to Bahrain

22 May 2012

My last trip from Saudi Arabia to Bahrain through The King Fahd Causeway. This project cost a total of US$800 million (SAR3 billion). One of the major contractors of the project was Ballast Nedam, based in the Netherlands. The four-lane road is 25 km (16 mi) long and approximately 23 m (75 ft) wide, and was built using 350,000 m2 (3,800,000 sq ft) of concrete along with 47,000 metric tonnes of reinforced steel.

In 2011, the armed forces of Saudi Arabia (and of the UAE and Qatar) used this causeway to invade Bahrain for a bloody crackdown on the Bahraini pro-democracy movement.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

“Ballast Nedam helped Saudi royal family with self-enrichment”

Today, 05:58

The FIOD [Dutch financial police] has strong indications that the top level of the Saudi royal family was involved in a bribery affair with Ballast Nedam. The kings Fahd and Abdullah are both mentioned in the parallel accounts of the Dutch construction company.

This is clear from the documentary “Concerning Saudi Arabia,” which HUMAN broadcasters will be transmitting tonight on NPO 2 21.00. It was already known that Ballast Nedam settled this kickbacks case in 2012, for 17.5 million euros. But from documents which documentary maker Jacco Versluis saw numerous new details emerge.

Bassie and Adriaan

The kings Fahd and Abdullah, both now deceased, had aliases at Ballast Nedam: Bassie & Adriaan.

The names of two Dutch TV clowns.

According to the FIOD the two brothers received bribes, or they were about to get them. In total Ballast Nedam is said to have paid at least half a billion dollars in bribes to members of the Saudi royal family and other senior Saudis.

“Advisory work”

A large part of the bribe, 467 million dollars, is said to have ended up with Saudi prince Al-Waleed bin Talal (pseudonym: Tiger). Al-Waleed is with assets of $ 17.3 billion at number 41 on the list of richest people on earth. In 2003 he received the Dutch medal of Officer in the Order of Oranje Nassau for his role in the Dutch-Saudi economic relations.

On paper, Ballast Nedam paid him that money for consulting work. In reality, according to the FIOD, these were kickbacks, such as getting a contract for the renovation of two airports.

For those airports the Saudi Air Force paid $ 580 million to Ballast Nedam. The FIOD suspects that contract was actually worth only 249 million and Ballast previously paid kickbacks, 331 million added up the bill. That means that the Saudi treasury had to foot the bill for the bribe. In other words, the Saudi prince enriched himself with Saudi public money, through Ballast Nedam.

Assistance request to Saudi Arabia

After the settlement with the prosecution, the case did not come before the court. But several former executives at Ballast Nedam will still be prosecuted individually. They are suspected of having taken parts of the bribe for themselves.

One of the suspects wants to hear a witness for his defense in Saudi Arabia. The Ministry of Security and Justice says that would require a request from the Saudi government. But the Foreign Ministry advises not to submit a request for assistance to Saudi Arabia.

Royal family

“The negative recommendation is particularly given since being asked to question a witness about the involvement of a member of the royal family in Saudi Arabia,” writes a department head at the Ministry of Security and Justice. “This is not considered desirable for the bilateral relations.”

In other words: the Dutch government wants a cover-up. Because this scandal might damage buying Saudi oil; and selling Dutch weapons to the Saudi royals for killing Yemeni civilians.

The prosecution agrees with this decision and points in a letter to the court also to the risks to the witness. “It seems somehow not wise to Saudi nationals, with the current regime, inside or outside their country, to make them subject to interrogation concerning bribery of Saudi government officials. This is because of the kind of reprisals taken by the Saudi authorities against unwelcome manifestations.”

Ballast Nedam declined to comment on the new findings.

The West’s “humanitarian interventionists” howl over bloody conflicts when an adversary can be blamed but go silent when an ally is doing the killing, such as Saudi Arabia in Yemen, reports Jonathan Marshall.

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