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Signature riddle over loans dispute between two firms.

F orensic experts have been unable to prove whether signatures at the center of a $10 billion Saudi business law- suit are genuine or fake, a report said. The dispute is between Saudi Arabian business houses Algosaibi and the Saad Group.

It has been alleged in court in New York that the head of Saad group, billionaire Maan Al Sanea and others forged the sig- nature of the late Suleiman Algosaibi on major financial transactions with banks. The dispute centers round signatures on documents covering loans from the Kuwait Finance House, the Saudi Hollandi Bank and the Saudi Investment Bank.

But investigation of the disputed signa- tures by UK-based Giles Document Labo- ratory, has proved inconclusive, according a report ordered by a court in the Cayman Islands, said a report in the local press.

The possibility that one or more of the signatures is fake cannot be excluded, according laboratory director Dr Audrey Giles, who has more than 30 years experi- ence in the field, including 13 years with London's Metropolitan Police. Discrepancies in some of the signatures could be explained by the fact that Algosaibi was chronically ill at the time, she says in her report. She is also says there is a possibility that some of the 120 undisputed signa- tures she was given for comparison may have been penned by someone other than Algosaibi.

"The questioned signatures on these documents demonstrate a very substan- tial range of variation and in many cases lack fluency," she said. "Similarities can be identified in basic features between each of these signa- tures and the undisputed signatures of Suleiman Algosaibi available to me. "However, it is not possible, in the case of the Suleiman Algosaibi signatures, to equate these similarities with authenticity. "The range of variation found in undis- puted signatures of Suleiman Algosaibi is abnormally large and hence the signi i- cance of the similarities observed cannot be determined. "Every one of the signatures on these bank documents may be a genuine signa- ture. "However, the possibility that one or more of the signatures is a simulation can- not be excluded. "My findings as to the authenticity of these signatures are, therefore, inconclu- sive." Her report states that she was provided with approximately 120 documents bear- ing undisputed signatures of Algosaibi.

"The range of variation in the 120 un- disputed signatures is greater than I have ever observed in the signatures of a single individual. I am not entirely satis ied that these signatures are all the signatures of a single individual," she says. "The very wide range of variation sug- gests that other individuals may from time to time have written signatures on behalf of Suleiman Algosaibi.

"Further problems arise in the simplicity of the undisputed signatures of Suleiman Algosaibi and the fact that many of them lack fluency. Simple structures are more easily cop- ied than signatures which contain numer- ous character forms with luent curved connections. "The undisputed signatures of Suleiman Algosaibi are based on ive structures, including one major pen lift and with the majority of changes of direction of the pen lines being angular.

"The lack of luency seen in some of the undisputed Suleiman Algosaibi signatures in the form of uncertain and angular pen movements is similar to that which is often found in simulated signatures. "It is certainly possible that the incon- sistencies in the undisputed Suleiman Algosaibi signatures provided are the re- sult of chronic illness." However, the very substantial range of variation seen in the simple and often poorly executed signatures means that it is impossible to assess the significance of any similarities or differences observed between a questioned signature and the undisputed signatures, she says. "This is a signature which is very vulner- able to simulation," Dr Giles says in the report.

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Publication:Saudi Economic Survey
Date:May 27, 2010
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