Saudi rich seek escape
21:20 - 21/11/2017
Information / follow-up ...
Three people told Bloomberg International that wealthy Saudis were restructuring their businesses to protect their assets from confiscation if Saudi authorities sought to crack down on corruption.
The three people familiar with the issue, who asked not to be identified for the confidentiality of the talks, said many family businesses and businessmen involved in the purge were talking to local banks and international law firms about how to structure their firms to make it difficult for the kingdom to seize their assets and confiscate their money.
According to one of the three people, one option available is the division of assets between more than one holding company, although the success of such a move is unclear, since the government is closely scrutinizing Saudi business as part of its recent campaign. Adding that the talks also deal with ways to protect foreign assets by moving them to offshore centers such as the Cayman Islands.
The talks reflect the fear among many wealthy Saudis of the prospect of an unprecedented cleansing campaign, which many see as an attempt by Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman to tighten his grip on power. Dozens of officials, princes and billionaires, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the global investor whose holding company owns shares in companies such as Citigroup and Twitter.
According to Bloomberg, some Saudi billionaires and millionaires sold investments in neighboring Gulf countries and turned them into cash or liquid assets abroad to avoid the risk of being targeted in the campaign. However, few are trying to divert money out of Saudi Arabia, amid fears of attracting unwanted interest from the authorities