Saudi Purge Goes Nuclear: Over 1,200 Bank Accounts Frozen

One day after we reported that Saudi Arabia has started to freeze the accounts of the dozens of arrested royals, ministers and businessmen, in the process allowing Mohammed bin Salman to further cement control over the Kingdom, the Kingdom has taken its "money laundering" crackdown to the next level and on Tuesday, Saudi banks have frozen more than 1,200 accounts belonging to individuals and companies in the kingdom as part of the government’s anti-corruption purge, bankers and lawyers told Reuters, adding that "the number is continuing to rise."

Since the "countercoup" on Sunday, the Saudi central bank has been expanding the list of accounts it is requiring lenders to freeze on an almost hourly basis, a regional banker told Reuters, and while he did not name the companies affected , he said they included listed and unlisted firms across many sectors.

The banker also said that if the freezes stayed in place for long, they could start to hurt day-to-day business activities such as paying staff and creditors or making other transactions. A second banker said, however, that most of the frozen accounts belonged to individuals rather than companies, and that banks were being allowed by the regulator to continue to fund existing commitments.

In an e-mailed statement, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority, or SAMA, said suspension of bank accounts of “persons of interest” is in response to Attorney General’s request pending the legal cases against them, according to Governor Ahmed Abdulkarim Alkholifey says in emailed statement.  SAMA clarified that individual accounts, rather than corporate businesses, have been put in suspension until final court rulings, and explained that - for now - corporate businesses remain unaffected, which means that are no restrictions on money transfers through proper banking channels. Assuming, of course, one isn't an "individual" on MbS's black list, and the money in the bank has effectively been nationalized.

For now, it remains unclear what the total potential haul from the bank account crackdown would be. Yesterday we reported that just the 4 billionaires named previously, and who were arrested over the weekend including Pricne Alwaleed, have no less than $33 billion in net worth at risk.

 

Among top business executives detained in the probe are billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, chairman of investment firm Kingdom Holding; Nasser al Tayyar, founder of Al Tayyar Travel; and Amr al-Dabbagh, chairman of builder Red Sea International. The stocks of all three companies, which have issued statements saying they continue to operate as normal, plunged another 9-10% on Tuesday.

So when could the confiscatory process end? As we jokingly suggested yesterday, the ruling Saudi royal family has realized that not only can it crush any potential dissent by arresting dozens of potential coup-plotters, it can also replenish the country's foreign reserves, which in the past 3 years have declined by over $250 billion, by confiscating some or all of their generous wealth, which is in the tens if not hundreds of billions. If MbS continues going down the list, he just may recoup a substantial enough amount to what it makes a difference on the sovereign account.

 

He will naturally also provoke enough anger to start civil unrest, if not a domestic war, but let's cross that bridge when we get to it.

Comments

Pinto Currency peddling-fiction Tue, 11/07/2017 - 12:53 Permalink

House of Saud has skimmed $10s of Trillions in oil revenue.Seizing less than 1%, locking-up a few perps, leaving Sauds in power does not resolve the fact that the whole House of Saud is coming down - and it is on.Ltr. from Amb. W. Morris re. Sauds skimming 20% of oil revenue: http://image.guardian.co.uk/sys-files/Guardian/documents/2007/05/29/ch04doc01.pdf

In reply to by peddling-fiction

HRClinton rejected Tue, 11/07/2017 - 13:12 Permalink

Too bad they couldn't freeze their BTC wallets!Their material assets (estates, toys, antiques, art, PM, jewels) all got confiscated. Guns and Swords too.And now bank balances too: "And it's gone!"Got BTC, bitchez?(What say you now, Gold Timers? Any clever comebacks or solutions?  I can wait. Tick, tock...)

In reply to by rejected

HRClinton Bunga Bunga Tue, 11/07/2017 - 13:26 Permalink

Tomorrow you'll see a Sovereign Man article on ZH: "Got a Plan B?"A: Yes I do, Simon. It does not consist of getting my domestic assets stolen or taxed.Nor does it include "friction/parasitic losses" on bullion (transport, insurance, storage, and buy/sell spreads).It's Cash, gold and Crypto in an offshore secure private storage at $100/yr, MFers! And a nice apt. with great location, weather and view -- that's rented when I'm not there... and registered to a cut-out LLC that I own. No US tax exposure to that!What's your Plan B, Mofos? Coins, brass and beans in your basement or "Back 40"? Woo-hoo! Live it up.

In reply to by Bunga Bunga

Ramesees Tue, 11/07/2017 - 12:40 Permalink

I knew this was all in the works when I read about the feudal system of payments to the lords in SA combined with the loss of petro revenue due to fracking in non-OPEC countries, but damn, it's quite convulsive when it actually happens.Like, I used to talk glibly about how SA was going to implode. Now that it's actually happening, I wish I hadn't been so insouciant. In a few years, I'm sure I'll feel the same way about the breakup of the Euro.

Turin Turambar Tue, 11/07/2017 - 12:41 Permalink

Meh, this is amateur hour.  Just wait until the US government does it to pension funds and retirement accounts by seizing the funds and guaranteeing some kind of minimum return in exchange because it's too RISKY, and you're too stupid to handle your own money.  :-O

RumpleShitzkin Tue, 11/07/2017 - 12:43 Permalink

Does everyone here think this is just some coincidence?

Shit is going down right fucking now, folks.

Stormy weather ahead. Hold on tight.

And get yourself to 4chan if you want a clue or two...