Saudi corruption purge snares RM140b of net worth

The arrests to fight against corruption have led the govt to freeze the accounts of the more than 3 dozen men detained

Dubai • Crown Prince Mohammed Salman’s crackdown on some of Saudi Arabia’s richest and most powerful men has put US$33 billion (RM139.59 billion) of personal wealth at risk.

The stunning series of arrests has implicated three of the country’s richest people, including Prince Alwaleed Talal, who’s No 50 on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index ranking of the world’s 500 richest people, with US$19 billion. Also being held are the kingdom’s second-and fifth-wealthiest people, as well as a travel-agency mogul and Bakr Ladin, a scion of one of the country’s biggest construction empires.

The arrests, which the crown prince said are part of a fight against corruption, reportedly have led the government to freeze the accounts of the more than three dozen men detained and believed to be held at the Riyadh Ritz-Carlton.

Alwaleed Talal, US$19b

Owns stakes in Twitter Inc, News Corp and Citigroup Inc. Nephew of the late Saudi ruler King Abdullah. Made his first billion dollars trading land and acts as a point man for multinational companies seeking local contracts.

Alwaleed’s publicly traded Kingdom Holding Co released a statement saying it “enjoys a solid financial position” and the government has “full confidence” in the company.

Mohammed Al Amoudi, US$10.1b

Controls an empire that has investments across Africa, Europe and Saudi Arabia. Made his first bil- lion in the late 1980s through construction, aided by an early government contract to help build the country’s underground oil storage facility. Assets include Sweden’s largest oil refiner Preem AB, real estate and numerous contracting businesses.

In Ethiopia, where he’s said to be the biggest private investor, he owns hotels and a gold mine, and has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in large-scale farms growing coffee and rice.

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, US$3.7b

Self-made finance and healthcare entrepreneur, started running bus services for hajj pilgrims and later founded the kingdom’s first driving school.

Regarded as one of the pioneers of Islamic finance. Kamel founded Manama, Bahrain-based Albaraka Banking Group, an Islamic bank with US$23.4 billion in assets at the end of 2016.

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, US$600m

The 60-year-old amassed a fortune that’s tied to publicly traded Al Tayyar Travel Group Holding Co, one of Saudi Arabia’s largest travel agencies.

Founded the business stint in the reservations department of Saudi Arabian Airlines. Al Tayyar’s shares slumped 10% at the close in Riyadh reaching their lowest since June 2012. 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 Ladin

The brother of Osama Laden heads one of the kingdom’s largest construction companies Saudi Binladin Group.

The company had a revenue of US$3 billion in 2016, and ownership is split among more than 20 descendants, according to Orbis, a database of company information published by Bureau van Dijk.

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 Issa Al Jaber and Prince Sultan Mohammed Al Kabeer. — Bloomberg


Recent Posts

Warming above 1.5C likely in near term unless world acts now, UN says

The report published today by the world’s leading climate science body, the UN Intergovernmental Panel…

8 hours ago

Lost radioactive capsule found in Thailand, prompting health fears and anger

A missing radioactive capsule that sparked health fears in Thailand and a days-long search has…

8 hours ago

The World of Tim Burton starts haunting KL

by AZALEA AZUAR THE World of Tim Burton has finally made its way to Pavilion…

9 hours ago

Indonesia’s GoTo has narrower adjusted loss on cost cuts

GoTo Group reported a narrower adjusted loss for the fourth quarter, helped by extensive cost…

9 hours ago

Leform bags RM20m job from IJM Construction

Leform Bhd has secured a RM19.53 million contract from IJM Construction Sdn Bhd to supply…

10 hours ago

The one big winner and many losers of UBS’s Credit Suisse rescue

UBS Group AG is emerging as a rare winner in Credit Suisse Group AG’s crisis…

10 hours ago