Saudis fall $1.8B behind in arms deal payments to Canada

Saudi Arabia has fallen behind in making payments on its $15-billion arms deal with Canada, a contract that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said he’s looking for ways to halt.

The Saudi government was short $1.8 billion in payments to the end of September for light-armoured vehicles assembled at General Dynamics Land Systems Canada (GDLS) in London, according to financial statements from the Canadian Commercial Corp., the federal Crown corporation overseeing the controversial contract.

The deal, which the Liberals are under pressure to scuttle amid Saudi human rights abuses, including the slaying of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the country’s consulate in Turkey, affects thousands of workers in the London area and in a supply chain that extends nationwide.

The report by the Crown corporation handling the sale says “trade receivables” are short $1.86 billion as of quarterly statements ending Sept. 30, and that payments have been sparse over the course of about one year.