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especially not Khalid). This series of events culminated in 1991, when regulators around shutting down most of the bank’s operations around the world. Most Pakistanis were (understand­ably) drama (it's a conspiracy! Abedi must have been framed by the goras!). Indeed, the Pakistan government refused to extradite Abedi, who died in 1995. But in the meantime, Khalid was getting into a lot of trouble. Even the royal family could not protect him from the New York state regulators, which said that he had breached regulation. Khalid had to pay $225 million him dropped. Khalid was also involved in a separate $253 million deal to settle claims with BCCI's creditors. Khalid left NCB, with both his, and his bank’s reputation in tatters. His brother hired not ruin them with his lack of business sense? And that is how he returned to NCB in 1996, which was doing ok, and then saw a rapid rise in non-performing loans including some from the position in 1999, only when the Sauid Arabian government literally had to nationaliz­e NCB to do so. You would think Khalid would have some sense to maybe, oh I don’t know, stay away from money. Alas. Khalid had set up a charity in the early 1990s, called Muwaffaq. Most of the time, the charity was used to help schools and health clinics in Somalia, Bosnia terrorits in the mid-1990s (which prompted Saudi Arabia to somewhat close it), and then again in the early 2000s. The 2000s in particular was tough for Saudis, simply because of the due to the heightened global attention on the country and the ‘War on Terror’. Khaid went around suing anyone who mostly through the UK’s strict libel laws. pushed back, and Khalid got a court to make her destroy all copies of her book and pay him $230,000. He was also accused of being the brothout not to be true. However, what is true, is that he knew his Bin Laden’s older brother, and he paid $270,000 to Bin Laden, back in the against the Soviets in Afghanista­n. And yet, unbelievab­ly, Khalid always seemed to dodge getting into real trouble. He died in 2009, still the 24th richest Arab, and no. 214 in the 2008 Forbes list of billionair­es. Pakistan, as of 2019. The kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, also known as the Public Investment Fund, is the largest shareholde­r in both NCB and Samba, owning about 44% of NCB and 23% of Samba. The offer from NCB to Samba had previously been announced in June 2020, but agreed to buy Samba Financial Group for $15 billion. NCB will pay 28.45 riyals ($7.58) for each Samba share, valuing it at around 55.7 billion riyals. NCB’s existing shareholde­rs will own 67.4% and Samba’s shareholde­rs will own 32.6% of the new bank. The current chairman of Samba, Ammar AlKhudairy, will become the merged bank’s new chairman, while the current chairman of NCB, Saeed Al Ghamdi, Why is this such a big deal? This is the biggest banking takeover of this year. Consider: NCB is the largest bank in Saudi Arabia, with total assets of around $135 billion. Meanwith assets of around $68 billion. The new bank will have total assets of more than $220 billion, which would create the third largest bank in the Gulf Region, after Qatar National Bank (total assets of $268 billion) and the UAE’s First Abu Dhabi Bank (total asset of $236 billion). According to Bloomberg, the new bank’s $46 billion market capitaliza­tion might even match that of Qatar National Bank. Plus, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia would fund, (Public Investment Fund) would end up with the largest stake in the new bank, at 37.2%. The merge is part of a wider trend: there has been a spate of recent consolidat­ion in the Middle East, mostly to improve competitiv­eness amidst an economic slowdown and lower GDP growth. Saudi Arabia’s central bank also announced a $27 billion stimulus package in recent months to support banks, due to the Covid- 19 pandemic. But reports have also suggested that Saudi Arabia is keen on having bigger banks because it ties into that country’s overall theme of diversifyi­ng away from oil and energy sources of revenue. Creating a brand new economy not reliant on oil will mean a lot more helpful to have large banks. Samba Bank Pakistan, for its part, did not say anything to the PSX until the agreethat the merger is to be completed during the - cial Group have said that redundanci­es are not to be expected. And in any case, the future of NCB in Pakistan cannot be half as ridiculous as its chairman’s past. Let us start right at the beginning. According to a New York Times obituary, Khalid bin Mahfouz is the son of Salem Ahmed Bin Mahfouz, who was Yemeni, but moved to what is now Saudi Arabia in 1912. He was illiterate, but still made a decent living for himself by exchanging currency for pilgrims to Mecca. He then became a partner in a currency business, and decided on setting up the next There was only one problem. Banks at the time were illegal in Saudi Arabia because interest was seen as unIslamic (Pakistan, and apprently did not have this problem at all). But Mahfouz basically demanded an audience with the royal family, and convinced them of the need for a bank, which ended up being the NCB. The NCB was very lucky: it was sort of boosted along by Mahfouz’s own royal connection­s, becoming their ‘personal’ bank (even if they thought it was unIslamic). Then in the 1970s, oil revenues went through the roof, and all so Saudi banks suddenly had way more assets. Mahfouz died a successful and happy man, handing over his large bank to his son, Khalid bin Mahfouz. And that is when things started to take did not have his father’s business acumen. The warning signs were present early on. Even before taking over the bank, in1977, Khalid had been persuaded by two Texan billionair­es to get involved in an unsuccessf­ul scheme to corner the silver market. He ended up losing a fair bit of money, along with other Saudi nationals. Not that it mattered. Despite his father NCB, Khalid bin Mahfouz liked the nice life. He would zip around Texas in his helicopter, and buy ranches and chateaus in the lone star state. He might even have become a random Saudi recluse in Texas, if it was not for his shenanigan­s at NCB. At NCB, Khalid’s biggest, most fatal and Commerce Internatio­nal (BCCI). In his defense, it must have seemed like a good deal in the 1980s: the highly successful Agha Hasan Abedi had started the bank in 1972, and at the bank’s height, it had over 400 branches in 78 countries, and assets exceeding $20 billion. Khalid decided to bet big, and ended up buying a 30% share of BCCI (a full 30% No, Khalid!), and was even director of the bank. Tough luck, because in 1986, investigat­ors began to examine BCCI’s role in money laundering and loan doctoring. BCCI was making massive losses, though no one knew it yet (and MERGERS AND ACQUISITIO­NS

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