Monday, 20 May, 2019

Saudi Arabia rakes in $107 billion from corruption suspects

Saudi Arabia rakes in $107 billion from corruption suspects Saudi Arabia rakes in $107 billion from corruption suspects
Patty Aguilar | 30 January, 2018, 19:41

With the release of Prince Alwaleed bin Talal from detention on Jan 28, Saudi Arabia comes closer to wrapping up its three-month-old campaign against corruption.

Kingdom Holding has not responded to requests for comment. Kingdom Holdings has shares in many companies including Twitter, Lyft and Citigroup amongst others.

It was not immediately known what kind of settlement Prince Alwaleed had agreed to.

"This was a natural reaction of the investors as the biggest stakeholder was under detention". Bin Talal's sum, though, is believed to be one of the largest sought by the Saudi authorities; reportedly at least $6 billion in exchange for his freedom, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index, which is based on a global survey asking citizens about their direct experience of graft, rates Saudi Arabia similarly to China and India, with a score of 46 out of a possible 100 points. Yet as detainees leave their luxury prison at the Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh, questions linger. But this development has refuted all those speculations.

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But Prince Alwaleed told Reuters that he had continued to maintain his innocence of any wrongdoing and did not expect to have to give up any assets.

The release of Prince Alwaleed and at least several other senior Saudi businessmen at the weekend, after they were detained for over two months in a corruption probe, was seen as positive for their companies - and also for the market as a whole, by suggesting the probe, which sent shockwaves through political and business circles, was winding down.

He said he has made a decision to release all those proven not guilty and others who had agreed financial settlements with the government after admitting to corruption allegations.

Other factors may also be responsible for the rise in reserves, such as changes in the pattern of transfers of money to Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, and weakness of the United States dollar, which boosts the non-dollar portion of the assets.

Dozens of princes, senior officials and top businessmen were detained and confined in the opulent Ritz-Carlton Riyadh as the government launched the purge in early November. This is all part of the vision for the future laid out by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman - a vision built on diversification of the oil economy.

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