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Saudi Arabia: Mobily saga shows regulator prepared to bare its teeth

The mid-June opening of the Saudi stock market to qualified foreign investors brought with it renewed focus on the kingdom’s opaque corporate governance standards. The Saudi authorities have encountered fresh embarrassment on this front, with large mobile operator Etihad Etisalat – better known as Mobily – becoming the latest in a series of corporates to have transgressed corporate accounting norms. Somewhat belatedly, the Capital Market Authority (CMA) announced on 8 June – one week ahead of the historic market opening – that trading in Mobily shares would be suspended until Mobily informed the CMA what impact a CMA report on accounting irregularities at the company was likely to have on its earnings.

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