Saudi authorities are demanding princes detained in a luxury hotel following a supposed anti-corruption purge pay billions of dollars to secure their release.
The deals involve separating cash from assets like property and shares, and looking at bank accounts to assess cash values.
It comes after reports King Salman plans to step down and announce his son Prince Mohammed bin Salman as successor in a move seen as the culmination of a power grab by the 32-year-old.
Dozens of princes, senior officials and businessmen, including cabinet ministers and billionaires, have been detained in the graft inquiry at least partly aimed at strengthening the power of the prince, known as MBS.
These include billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, one of the kingdom’s most prominent businessmen.
One businessman had tens of millions of Saudi riyals withdrawn from his account after he signed.
In another case, a former senior official consented to hand over ownership of four billion riyals worth of shares, a source told Reuters news agency.
The Saudi government earlier this week moved from freezing accounts to issuing instructions for ‘expropriation of unencumbered assets’ or seizure of assets, said a second source. DailyMail
Saudi Arabia arrested 11 Princes, four ministers, and former ministers.
The announcement of the arrests was made over Al Arabiya, the Saudi-owned satellite network whose broadcasts are officially approved. NYTimes
The stunning series of arrests has implicated three of the country’s richest people, including Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who’s No. 50 on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index ranking of the world’s 500 richest people, with $19 billion. Also being held are the kingdom’s second- and fifth-wealthiest people, as well as a travel-agency mogul and Bakr Binladin, a scion of a one of the country’s biggest construction empires. BloomBerg
A sign of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman consolidating his power.
After the arrest of 11 Saudi princes and current and former officials, Saudi Prince Mansour bin Muqrin, a potential rival to the succession legitimacy of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed in a helicopter crash.