Complex Made Simple

$33bn personal Saudi wealth at risk; dozens more accounts frozen in probe

Bloomberg’s Erik Schatzker discusses his evening in the desert with Prince Alwaleed bin Talal ten days before he became the most prominent target in Saudi Arabia’s anti-corruption crackdown. He speaks on “What’d You Miss?”

Read: Did anyone see the Saudi clampdown on corruption coming?

Read: What exactly has been happening in KSA in last 48 hours?

But to start with, Bloomberg learned that the corruption probe is widening and that Saudi’s monetary authority ordered banks in the Kingdom to freeze the accounts of dozens of individuals who are not under arrest, and that the Central Bank in Saudi has put up $33bn of personal wealth at risk for the richest detainees, a group that includes Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal.

Schatzker, who had met Prince Alwaleed a couple of times during a recent visit to Saudi, including at ‘Davos in the Desert’, said the prince gave no indication that he knew he was going to be detained.

“On a superficial level, Bin Talal’s interests were aligned with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, in that he supported the kingdom’s economic vision for diversification, reducing the budget deficit, and attracting foreign direct investments (FDI),” he said.

“But apparently, there was something else because as per a Saudi official telling Bloomberg, Alwaleed is facing charges of money laundering, extortion and bribery.”

WATCH: Investors are absolutely turned off by Alwaleed’s detainment

He added that it will interesting to see how this pans out legally in terms of due process and fair representation for prince Alwaleed.