Daily Management Review

Saudi Crackdown On Corruption Forces Many Saudis Billionaires To Seek Ring Fencing For Their Assets


11/20/2017




Saudi Crackdown On Corruption Forces Many Saudis Billionaires To Seek Ring Fencing For Their Assets
In the eventuality that the Saudi authorities decide to widen their declared crackdown on corruption, restructuring of their business is what wealthy Saudis are seeking to achieve in order to ring fence their assets from such an eventuality, according to media reports quoting people with direct knowledge of the matter.
 
The media reported quoting sources that details about the procedure and strategy of how to restructure their companies and assets to enable them to make it harder for the authorities to confiscate or seize assets are being sought from local banks and international law firms by a number of wealthy Saudi family groups and businessmen who have not yet been implicated in the purge. The sources were not in the media reports because the discussions are private.
 
Sources reportedly said that that one of the options that the wealthy are planning is to distribute their assets between two or more holding companies so that it could be difficult to identify them. But sources said that since the Saudi government is keeping a very close watch and is scrutinizing and business activity in the kingdom as part of the crackdown, it is not very clear how the plans of restricting the business of the wealthy would be helpful. 
 
The Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had planned and implemented the unprecedented purge and many view this attempt by him to get a strong grip on power and the present discussions of splitting their assets by the wealthy reflect the fear among such Saudis that the purge is all set to widen. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is included among the dozens of officials, princes and billionaires in the kingdom that have been targeted in the crackdown. Stakes in companies such as Citigroup Inc. and Twitter Inc. are owned by Kingdom Holding Co. which belongs to Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.
 
Sources have also said that in order to avoid the risk of getting caught up in the corruption sweep, a few of the Saudi billionaires and millionaires are selling off their investments which are present in some of the neighboring Gulf countries and transforming them into cash or liquid holdings which are then being placed overseas. Sources also said that there are also fears of attracting unwanted attention form the crackdown authorities and this is driving a few to try and shift their money out of Saudi Arabia in total.
 
The crackdown has rattled a section of the some of the kingdom’s richest families and there are allegations that these are the very families that have, for decades, reaped advantages of their closeness with the rulers of the country. Some of the advantages have been easily securing huge mega contracts and being able to create partnerships with foreign companies that were seeking to get a toe hold in the country for business in the largest economy in the Arab world. .
 
(Source:www.bloomberg.com)






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