Saudi Arabia Offers Arrested Royals A Deal: Your Freedom For Lots Of Cash

Saudi Arabia just introduced a 70% wealth tax. It did so in a most original way...

As we noted shortly after the Crown Prince’s purge of potential rivals within Saudi Arabia’s sprawling ruling family, while the dozens of arrests were made under the pretext of an "anti-corruption crackdown", Mohammed bin Salman’s ulterior motive was something else entirely: Replenishing the Kingdom’s depleted foreign reserves, which have been hammered for the past three years by low oil prices, with some estimating that the current purge could potentially bring in up to $800 billion in proceeds.

Furthermore, the geopolitical turmoil unleashed by the unprecedented crackdown helped push oil prices higher, creating an ancillary benefit for both the kingdom’s rulers and the upcoming IPO of Aramco.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

And, in the latest confirmation that the crackdown was all about cash, the Financial Times reports today that the Saudi government has offered the new occupants of the Riyadh Ritz-Carlton a way out.... and it’s going to cost them: In some cases, as much as 70% of their net worth.

Saudi authorities are negotiating settlements with princes and businessmen held over allegations of corruption, offering deals for the detainees to pay for their freedom, people briefed on the discussions say.


In some cases the government is seeking to appropriate as much as 70 per cent of suspects’ wealth, two of the people said, in a bid to channel hundreds of billions of dollars into depleted state coffers.


The arrangements, which have already seen some assets and funds handed over to the state, provide an insight into the strategy behind Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s dramatic corruption purge.

The crackdown has led to the detention of hundreds of royals, ministers, officals and the country’s richest oligarchs including Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the billionaire, Waleed al-Ibrahim, the founder of Middle East Broadcasting Center, which owns Al Arabiya, the Saudi satellite television channel, and Bakr bin Laden, chairman of the Saudi Binladin construction group and brother of Osama bin Laden.

Additionally, as we reported, the crackdown sent members of the country’s wealthy upper crust scrambling to liquidate their holdings and move their cash offshore, where they might have a better chance of keeping it away from the Saudi government.

Unsurprisingly, the Saudi "offer" is working.

Some of the suspects, most of whom have been rounded up at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh since last week, are keen to secure their release by signing over cash and corporate assets, the FT's sources say.

“They are making settlements with most of those in the Ritz,” said one adviser. “Cough up the cash and you will go home." 


One multi-billionaire businessman held at the Ritz-Carlton has been told to hand over 70% of his wealth to the state as a punishment for decades of involvement in allegedly corrupt business transactions. He wants to pay, but has yet to work out the details of transferring those assets to the Saudi state.

Settlements for royals will also include pledges of loyalty as MbS prepares himself to take the Saudi throne, though his father, King Salman, has vigorously denied these rumors.

One detainee told his staff that the authorities may be looking to take ownership of his main business. Families of detained suspects have started to hire consultants to assist efforts to secure their relatives’ release and to ring fence the damage to their business interests.

“They are looking for ways to isolate the tainted shareholder and keep the business going,” said the adviser.

The settlements aim to recover billions of dollars allegedly earned through “corruption” at a time when the government is grappling with a recession triggered by prolonged low oil prices and a budget deficit that widened to $79 billion last year.

The country’s attorney-general has said he is investigating allegations of corruption amounting to at least $100 billion - though the total value of assets seized could be as high as $800 billion. Though the Financial Times puts the high-end figure at a relatively modest $300 billion; to make up for the delta, more arrests are still expected.

Regular Saudis, who’ve seen their benefits cut and some of their jobs taken away, support MbS’s decision.  “Why should the poor take all the pain of austerity,” said one Saudi academic. “The rich need to pay their way too.”

In Saudi Arabia, they are about to do just that.


TruthHammer YUNOSELL Thu, 11/16/2017 - 15:32 Permalink

Of course the money matters, but this articles entire premise is baseless and not supported. It assumes a causal relationship were only a correlative one exists.Another possible view is:1.) They ARE guilty2.) Why wouldnt their assets then be seized.  But its easier for everyone if they voluntairily surrender the ill-gotten funds, while remaining rich.3.) Everyone saves face, they can't fund terrorism and buy the US/UK/WESTERN establishment anymore4.) The end.

In reply to by YUNOSELL

auricle TruthHammer Thu, 11/16/2017 - 16:39 Permalink

Embarrasing the old guard by arresting them and then shaking them down for billions then releasing them. Is he trying to start an internal war/coup?  The Bush I and II, Clinton, Obama administrations spoke so highly of these guys, there is no way they are guilty of these crimes. Where is the outrage from their administrations coming to their aid in time of need? Cheney, Kissinger, Powell, Baker, Albright, Rice, Clinton, Kerry?  /s

In reply to by TruthHammer

Implied Violins WordSmith2013 Thu, 11/16/2017 - 17:34 Permalink

Yeah, and then there's this:

Someone went to a great deal of effort to put that LONG piece together, which basically stitches all the major events of the last dozen years into a narrative that basically comes to the same conclusions as the millennium report article: Trump is a 12-D chess master, and the game is almost won!

Whoop-de-fucking DO. Too many inaccuracies in both pieces. I smell a globalist rat, a game of 'good cop/bad cop' that the masses will lap up once the 'arrest of the pedophiles' is complete.

All that will happen is the elite will sacrifice some of their own to appease the masses, then they will consolidate their gains. Same thing they always do, when the reserve currency changes.

In reply to by WordSmith2013

zorba THE GREEK Bigly Thu, 11/16/2017 - 19:54 Permalink

I wholly support this kind of action in the USA, every billionaire in the USA today has been involved in some sort of corruption and they should pay 70% or more to benefit the poor and working class people. But then the whores of congress would divert most of the money to go to their rich supporters. Corruption is so ingrained in the government that we need to have a revolution and start over again. Power to the people. 

In reply to by Bigly

Buck Johnson TruthHammer Fri, 11/17/2017 - 07:34 Permalink

Good point, you see maybe maybe when the hit failed (don't know if that was true or not) or he found out that a large group of prominient rich Saudi's (who are most likely part of those tribes) and princesses where going to make a move on him politically he acted first.  By someone in the know or in the coup attempt telling and that is why they are where they are imprisoned in a hotel. This prince said there where more arrests and freezing of accounts to come and trust me I bet anything that they have already done it and then some.  I bet that 70% of their wealth that he wants is a low number, something tells me he wants it all and their companies and then they will live in Saudi Arabia on an allowance.  Even 30% is just to much of an ability for them to still cause mischif and he knows it.  He knows they are guilty and are lucky to not be in prison.

In reply to by TruthHammer

biker_trash Bud Dry Thu, 11/16/2017 - 13:32 Permalink

Sure looks like MBS in the Tropicana video, but its too blurry to see his facial details. Has this been confirmed anywhere? This is clearly someone being protected and rushed out of the hotel. Guns were drawn on casino patrons because the team was not sure about the exact location of threat. There really would be no explaination for this event outside a of government or the military. Cannot be explained by local security or police activities. Middle Eastern Guy - YesBalding black hair - YesFacial Hair - YesHeight ~6.3" - YesHead shape similar - YesDressed weirdly and inappropriately for a guy being escorted and protected by a team of paramilitary types - yes

In reply to by Bud Dry

effendi biker_trash Thu, 11/16/2017 - 19:26 Permalink

When an imminent threat on the life of a high value target is made then he is bundled away in whatever he is wearing as there isn't time to dress properly. Perhaps he was in bed (sleeping, perhaps with a hooker) at that early evening hour? To draw guns in a casino the bodyguards must have had a very powerful person for the casino security not to intervene and that could only apply to very few people (such as the prince)

In reply to by biker_trash

MoreFreedom Joe Davola Thu, 11/16/2017 - 15:21 Permalink

Usually the deal is that you agree to not hold other politicians accountable for their theft and corruption and they agree to do the same for you. But in Saudia Arabia, the king has run out of the cash he needs to placate the population, and he has the power to do what he's doing.  Frankly, I'd bet a lot of these princes are corrupt as hell, like to steal from the government, and some of whom fund Islamic terrorism. 

In reply to by Joe Davola