Signature riddle over Saudi loans dispute
Manama, May 14, 2010
Forensic experts have been unable to prove whether signatures at the centre of a $10 billion Saudi business lawsuit 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 signature of the late Suleiman Algosaibi on major financial transactions with banks.
The dispute centres 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 signatures by UK-based Giles Document Laboratory, has proved inconclusive, according a report ordered by a court in the Cayman Islands, said the report in Gulf Daily News, our sister newspaper.
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 experience 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 signatures she was given for comparison may have been penned by someone other than Algosaibi.
"The questioned signatures on these documents demonstrate a very substantial range of variation and in many cases lack fluency," she said.
"Similarities can be identified in basic features between each of these signatures 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 undisputed signatures of Suleiman Algosaibi is abnormally large and hence the significance of the similarities observed cannot be determined.
"Every one of the signatures on these bank documents may be a genuine signature. "However, the possibility that one or more of the signatures is a simulation cannot be excluded.
"My findings as to the authenticity of these signatures are, therefore, inconclusive."
Her report states that she was provided with approximately 120 documents bearing undisputed signatures of Algosaibi.
"The range of variation in the 120 undisputed signatures is greater than I have ever observed in the signatures of a single individual. I am not entirely satisfied that these signatures are all the signatures of a single individual," she says.
"The very wide range of variation suggests 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 copied than signatures which contain numerous character forms with fluent curved connections.
"The undisputed signatures of Suleiman Algosaibi are based on five structures, including one major pen lift and with the majority of changes of direction of the pen lines being angular.
"The lack of fluency 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 inconsistencies in the undisputed Suleiman Algosaibi signatures provided are the result 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 vulnerable to simulation," Dr Giles says in the report. -TradeArabia News Service