A restaurant is seen at the Saad Specialist Hospital in Khobar, Saudi Arabia, December 23, 2008. Michael Harris/Handout via REUTERS
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Saudi Arabia has accelerated steps to resolve a $22 billion debt dispute that is seen by investors as a litmus test of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman's commitment to reforms, three sources familiar with the matter say. Legal battles over the debts left by Saad Group and Ahmad Hamad al-Gosaibi & Bros. Co. (AHAB) have dragged on for almost a decade since the two family conglomerates collapsed in 2009 . This spurred efforts by the Sanea family to try to resolve the debt dispute, the sources said.In a further sign of momentum, a three-judge tribunal set up in 2016 to deal with financial claims against AHAB and Saad group has approved creditor claims of about 11.5 billion riyals ($3 billion) against AHAB and appointed liquidators to deal with the unwinding of Saad Group's business empire, one of the sources said.Between them, AHAB and Saad Group owe money to more than 100 international banks including HSBC, BNP Paribas and Citigroup.AHAB has said Sanea, who married into the Gosaibi family more than 30 years ago, defrauded it of billions of dollars after he was put in charge of its financial businesses.
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