Future Saudi king tightens grip on power with arrests including Prince Alwaleed

FILE PHOTO – Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia October 24, 2017. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

 

RIYADH (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s future king has tightened his grip on power through an anti-corruption purge by arresting royals, ministers and investors including billionaire Alwaleed bin Talal who is one of the kingdom’s most prominent businessmen.

Prince Alwaleed, a nephew of the king and owner of investment firm Kingdom Holding, invests in firms such as Citigroup and Twitter. He was among 11 princes, four ministers and tens of former ministers detained, three senior officials told Reuters on Sunday.

The purge against the kingdom’s political and business elite also targeted the head of the National Guard, Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, who was detained and replaced as minister of the powerful National Guard by Prince Khaled bin Ayyaf. Continue reading

Saudi Arabia may seek IMF sway in exchange for riches

Saudi Arabia, which has more than $500bn in foreign assets, may demand a greater share of voting rights at the International Monetary Fund in exchange for providing the lender with more money.

Saudi Arabia’s reserve position at the Washington-based fund more than doubled to SR18.2bn ($4.9bn) last year from SR7.4bn in 2010, according to Saudi central bank data. In 2007, it had a SR2.7bn position with the IMF, the data showed. The cost to insure Saudi debt on Jan 31 was less than half the Middle East sovereign average, according to data provider CMA.

The IMF’s Managing Director Christine Lagarde, who visits the kingdom’s capital on Feb 4, has urged members states to contribute $500bn in new lending resources to avoid a 1930s-style global depression. Saudi Finance Minister Ibrahim al-Assaf last week said that the world’s top oil exporter may be willing to raise its contribution to the fund.

“The Saudi government will be looking for a greater say in the disbursement and that is where the more difficult negotiations will take place,” Crispin B. Hawes, director for the Middle East and North Africa at the Eurasia Group, said by telephone from London.

The IMF is pushing China, Brazil, Russia, India, Japan and oil-exporting nations to be the top contributors, according to a G-20 official, who spoke on condition of anonymity last month because the talks are private. The fund wants a deal struck at the Feb 25- 26 meeting of G-20 finance ministers and central bankers in Mexico City, the official said.

Full article: Saudi Arabia may seek IMF sway in exchange for riches (Arabian Business)