Saudi’s corruption crackdown puts $33bn of personal wealth at risk
London/Dubai — Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s crackdown on some of Saudi Arabia’s richest and most powerful men has put $33bn of personal wealth at risk.
The stunning series of arrests has implicated three of the country’s richest people, including Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who’s in the 50th spot on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index ranking of the world’s 500 richest people, with $19bn. Also being held are the kingdom’s second-and fifth-wealthiest people, as well as a travel-agency mogul and Bakr bin Laden, a scion of a one of the country’s biggest construction empires.
The arrests, which the crown prince said are part of a fight against corruption, have reportedly led the government to freeze the accounts of the more than three dozen men detained, believed to be held at the Riyadh Ritz-Carlton.
Alwaleed bin Talal, $19bn: Alwaleed’s publicly traded Kingdom Holding Group released a statement saying it "enjoys a solid financial position" and the government has "full confidence" in the company.
Mohammed al-Amoudi, $10.1bn: Tim Pendry, Al Amoudi’s London-based spokesman said in a statement on Monday that the arrest "is an internal matter for the kingdom and we have no further comment to make other than to say that the overseas businesses owned by the Sheikh remain unaffected by this development".
Saleh Kamel, $3.7bn: Albaraka Banking Group’s Egypt subsidiary said in a statement that the arrest didn’t have a direct impact on the company and that Kamel didn’t serve on the subsidiary’s board. Kamel is chairman of the board at the parent company.
Nasser al-Tayyar, $600m: The company said in a statement to the Saudi Stock Exchange that its operations are continuing, and that it’s safeguarding the interests of its customers and shareholders.
Bakr bin Laden: Phone calls made to the company headquarters after hours went unanswered.
Two of the four Saudis on the Bloomberg index haven’t been detained in the sweep: hotel magnate Mohamed bin Issa al-Jaber, who has an $8.3bn fortune and splits his time between Paris, London, Vienna and Jeddah; and Prince Sultan bin Mohammed al-Kabeer, the biggest individual shareholder in food processor Almarai, who has $4.7bn.