Saudi king sanctions Binladin Group after deadly crane collapse

AFP , Tuesday 15 Sep 2015

King Salman
File Photo: Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz arrives to the scene where a crane collapsed in the Grand Mosque in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia September 12, 2015 (Photo: Reuters)

Saudi Arabia's King Salman sanctioned the powerful Saudi Binladin Group Tuesday over the collapse of a construction crane at Mecca's Grand Mosque, which killed more than 100 people days before the hajj pilgrimage.

An investigative commission had concluded that the company "was in part responsible" for Friday's tragedy, which killed at least 107 people and injured almost 400 during a severe thunderstorm accompanied by violent winds.

The company had not "respected the norms of safety" at the site, the official Saudi Press Agency said.

The firm's executives have been forbidden from leaving the kingdom pending the completion of legal action against the company, SPA said.

During the same period, the company will also be excluded from new public projects.

The construction firm, which belongs to the family of the late Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, had been working for four years on a 400,000-square-metre (4.3-million-square-feet) enlargement of the Grand Mosque, to accommodate increasing numbers of pilgrims.

That is the equivalent of more than 50 football pitches, and will allow the complex to accommodate roughly two million people at once.

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