Saudi's King Salman to hand crown to son next week

Frederick Owens
November 19, 2017

China will not waver in its determination to deepen strategic cooperation with Saudi Arabia, said Chinese president Xi Jinping on Thursday during a phone conversation with Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz. Saudi whistleblowers have alerted that Bin Salman, who is personally overseeing the detention, orders the guards to "beat" the prisoners who are being held at the Ritz Carlton hotel.

According to reports, this comes as a reaction to recent events in the Middle East between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and recent turmoil in Lebanon.

The attorney general has said he is investigating allegations involving sums of at least $100bn.

The deals involve separating cash from assets, such as property and shares, and looking at bank accounts to assess cash values, one of the sources told the Reuters news agency. As well as paying up, detained royals are likely also to be asked to make promises of loyalty, they said. "Cough up the cash and you will go home". The government has been forced to introduce austerity measures since oil prices fell three years ago, reducing subsidies and driving up costs for average Saudi nationals.

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"He couldn't have put them in the jail", a senior official explained.

"But he may have realised that by doing this, he's gone a step too far and ruffled too many feathers, and he is maybe trying to find a way out that means these people don't end up in prison forever and can carry on their business operations as before".

This comes after the Saudi King recently arrested 11 princes, including a prominent billionaire, and dozens of current and former ministers in a sweeping crackdown. The deficit, which hit $98bn in 2015, is shrinking, but at a high cost to the economy; data in late September showed Saudi Arabia in recession during the second quarter. Over the next decade at least five million Saudis are likely to enter the workforce, posing an enormous problem for a government that does not now have jobs to offer them.

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