UPDATE 5.05 am PT Saudi Arabia’s Royal Commission for AlUla (RCA) has said it is “continuing with business as usual’ following news of the arrest of its CEO Amr Al-Madani on corruption allegations.
The organization said an acting CEO had been put in place in the wake of the legal proceedings against Al-Madani.
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“We understand legal proceedings have commenced against the staff member in question and RCU has appointed an acting CEO, Abeer Al Akel,” the RCU said in a statement sent to Deadline in response to a request for comment on the affair.
“RCU is continuing with business as usual and moving forward to deliver against its ambitious vision and mission,” it added.
The RCU was created in 2017 with the mission of transforming Saudi Arabia’s heritage region of AlUla in the northwest of the country into a major creative and tourist centre under the country’s 2030 Vision strategy aimed at moving the economy away from a reliance on oil.
The commission’s film agency Film AlUla has been at the forefront of Saudi Arabia’s mission to become a major film and TV hub in the MENA region, facilitating the shoots of films such as Kandahar and Cherry.
ORIGINAL January 31, 2024 3:31am The CEO of Saudi Arabia’s Royal Commission for AlUla (RCA) Amr Al-Madani has been arrested in relation to corruption allegations.
The country’s Oversight and Anti-Corruption Authority (Nazaha) put out a statement on Sunday (Jan 28) saying the exec had been arrested for his involvement in crimes of abuse of office power and money laundering.
The Nazaha statement said Al-Madani was alleged to have obtained contracts “in an irregular manner” through a relative to the value of $55M for the National Talent Company, a company in which he holds a stake, from the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy prior to his arrival at AlUla.
Nazaha said Al-Madani continued to hold a stake in the company after taking up his AlUla post, recommending it for RCU contracts worth some $300,000, profits from which were channelled back to him via a family member working at the company.
Situated in northwest Saudi Arabia, the heritage region of AlUla is currently being developed as a major creative and tourist centre under the country’s 2030 Vision strategy aimed at moving the economy away from a reliance on oil.
The RCU was established in 2017 to spearhead this mission.
Amongst many other initiatives sitting within RCU, Film AlUla is the RCU’s film agency, established to promote and support international film and TV production in the AlUla county.
Features to have filmed in the region to date in include Ric Roman Waugh’s Kandahar, starring Gerard Butler as well as Anthony and Joe Russo’s Iraq war story Cherry
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