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Thursday, 9 November 2017

Saudi Arabia corruption probe arrests rise to more than 200

Saudi Arabia corruption probe arrests rise to more than 200:

"Saudi Arabia said more than 200 people had now been detained as part of an anti-graft crackdown into at least $100bn in “systematic corruption and embezzlement” going back decades.

Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb, the kingdom’s attorney-general, said on Thursday that the probe launched by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s new anti-corruption committee was “proceeding quickly” and that seven of the 208 people arrested since Saturday had been released without charge.

“The potential scale of corrupt practices which have been uncovered is very large,” Sheikh Mojeb said. “The evidence for this wrongdoing is very strong and confirms the original suspicions which led the Saudi Arabian authorities to begin the investigation in the first place.”"



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Saudi Arabia faces battle to repatriate assets after corruption crackdown | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Saudi Arabia faces battle to repatriate assets after corruption crackdown | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Saudi Arabia has announced it will confiscate money and assets held by dozens of top officials and businessmen detained in an anti-corruption crackdown. But the experiences of two other Arab states trying to recover stolen money, Egypt and Tunisia, suggest Riyadh may face years of legal and diplomatic battles to secure assets held abroad. Even then success is not guaranteed. The anti-corruption committee that detained princes, tycoons and ministers at the weekend has the power under a royal decree to take "whatever measures are deemed necessary" to seize companies, funds and other assets without waiting for the results of criminal investigations. "



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UAE's Mubadala and French groups in 1 bln euro investment plan

UAE's Mubadala and French groups in 1 bln euro investment plan:

"Abu Dhabi state fund Mubadala Investment said on Thursday it planned to invest millions of euros in businesses and other organisations in France under a deal signed with French state-backed investment vehicles CDC International Capital and Bpifrance.

The agreement, signed during a visit of French President Emmanuel Macron to the emirate, aims to invest up to 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) in the French economy. The deal didn’t give a timescale for the investment.

The first part of the plan involves raising the size and scope of an existing co-investment partnership, known as FEF, which was launched in 2014 by Mubadala and CDC International Capital, a subsidiary of French state-owned Caisse des Dépôts Group aimed at investing alongside sovereign wealth funds."



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UPDATE 1-UAE's TAQA posts Q3 loss after two quarters of profit

UPDATE 1-UAE's TAQA posts Q3 loss after two quarters of profit:

"Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA) reported on Thursday a narrower loss in the third quarter from a year earlier, after small profits in the previous two quarters. The state-owned oil explorer and power supplier made a loss attributable to shareholders of 194 million dirhams ($52.8 million) in the three months ended Sept. 30, it said in a statement to the stock exchange. That compared with a 524 million dirhams net loss during the same period a year ago."



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U.K., Wooing Saudi Aramco IPO, Offers $2 Billion Loan Guarantee - Bloomberg

U.K., Wooing Saudi Aramco IPO, Offers $2 Billion Loan Guarantee - Bloomberg:

"The U.K. government agreed to a $2 billion loan guarantee for Saudi Arabian Oil Co. as Britain and the U.S. compete to host the state-run energy giant’s proposed initial public offering, likely to be the largest in history. The unusually large export credit guarantee, designed to finance the purchase of British goods, will be seen by many as an attempt to help woo the IPO to the London Stock Exchange, the most viable venue for the international portion of the sale aside from New York. On Saturday, President Donald Trump said it a tweet that he’d love to see Aramco comes to the U.S.. A former senior official at the U.K. Treasury criticized the deal as an affront to free markets. The government “guaranteeing a loan to Aramco would be a further lurch in descent to mercantilism,” Nicholas MacPherson, who was the most senior non-elected official at Britain’s finance ministry until 2016, said on Twitter. He finished the tweet with the hashtag #stateaid."



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Saudi anti-corruption probe finds '$100bn was embezzled' - BBC News

Saudi anti-corruption probe finds '$100bn was embezzled' - BBC News:

"Saudi Arabia's attorney general says at least $100bn (£76bn) has been misused through systemic corruption and embezzlement in recent decades.
Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb said 199 people were being held for questioning as part of a sweeping anti-corruption drive that began on Saturday night.
He did not name any of them, but they reportedly include senior princes, ministers and influential businessmen."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf rebounds a bit after slide due to Saudi graft inquiry

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf rebounds a bit after slide due to Saudi graft inquiry:

"Gulf stock markets rebounded slightly on Thursday after a jittery week in which most dropped because of concern about Saudi Arabia’s anti-corruption purge, which could reduce Saudi fund flows to the region.

The Saudi stock index spent most of the day lower before closing 0.3 percent higher. Similar trading patterns were seen every day this week after authorities announced the arrest of dozens of senior officials and businessmen in the investigation and froze over 1,700 domestic bank accounts.

Wealthy Saudi individuals, fearful that they could be implicated in the probe, have been dumping stocks to raise cash, in some cases intending to move the money out of the country, fund managers said."



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Saudi budget airline Flynas picks Morgan Stanley for IPO-sources | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Saudi budget airline Flynas picks Morgan Stanley for IPO-sources | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Saudi budget airline Flynas, partly owned by Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal's firm, has selected Morgan Stanley to work on its initial public offering, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Thursday.

Flynas, which is 34 percent owned by Prince Alwaleed's Kingdom Holding, earlier this year had made public its plans for a flotation.

Investment banks pitched for the role two weeks ago, and the decision came this week, according to two sources, declining to be named as the matter was not public. "



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Dubai Airshow: Airbus nears deal to sell over 30 A380s -sources | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Dubai Airshow: Airbus nears deal to sell over 30 A380s -sources | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

" Airbus is close to a deal worth at least $14 billion to sell over 30 of its A380 jetliners to Dubai's Emirates to seek to secure production of its struggling superjumbo until the middle of next decade, two people familiar with the matter said.

The deal, if confirmed, is expected to be announced at the opening of the Dubai Airshow on Sunday.

Airbus said it does not comment on commercial discussions.
"



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BRIEF-Moody's says United Arab Emirates banks' funding conditions improve, a credit positive‍​

BRIEF-Moody's says United Arab Emirates banks' funding conditions improve, a credit positive‍​:

"* Moody‘s- United Arab Emirates banks’ funding conditions improve, a credit positive‍​

 * Moody’s - expect UAE banks’ market funding reliance and liquid resources to remain broadly stable over next 12-18 months

 * Moody’s - expect UAE banks to remain primarily deposit-funded, with moderate reliance on market funding."



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Saudi Billionaires Look to Move Funds to Escape Asset Freeze - Bloomberg

Saudi Billionaires Look to Move Funds to Escape Asset Freeze - Bloomberg:

"Some Saudi billionaires and millionaires are seeking to move assets from the kingdom and the wider Gulf Cooperation Council region as what authorities call a crackdown on corruption intensifies, according to six people with knowledge of the matter. The country’s wealthiest people are in talks with banks, asset managers and advisers to try to shift cash and other liquid holdings from Saudi Arabia and neighboring states amid concerns that funds could be frozen and more arrests will be made, the people said. They asked not to be identified because the matter is private. Saudi security forces arrested more than 10 princes as well as dozens of ministers, former officials and businessmen in a surprise weekend purge. The central bank asked lenders in the kingdom to freeze the accounts of dozens of individuals who aren’t under arrest, as well as the assets of those being detained, people familiar with the matter said. The Saudi attorney general said in a statement released Monday that the weekend arrests were only “phase one” of the crackdown."



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Saudi Arabia Is Putinizing, Not Modernizing - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia Is Putinizing, Not Modernizing - Bloomberg:

"It was perhaps inevitable that the Saudi royal purge, in which 11 princes and dozens of bureaucrats stand accused of corruption, would be compared with Russian President Vladimir Putin's and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping's highly public, and highly selective, anti-graft campaigns. But Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who initiated the crackdown, resembles Putin in other dangerous ways, too.

There is no question that Saudi Arabia is, and has long been, thoroughly corrupt. With thousands of royals alone, who, in an absolute monarchy, naturally see the public purse as their own, that's no surprise. But talking about it has never been safe, even for a prince. In the last three years -- just as MbS, as the crown prince is known, rose to power -- three dissident members of the Saudi royal family have been kidnapped in Europe and flown clandestinely home. The most senior of them, Prince Sultan bin Turki, nephew to King Fahd, who ruled Saudi Arabia until 2005, was an outspoken critic of corrupt practices in the Saudi government. The Saudis kidnapped him and 20 members of his entourage in February, 2016, and he has not been seen since soldiers violently subdued him at the Riyadh airport.

In any authoritarian regime, fighting corruption can only be a pretext for power consolidation because the nature of the system invites corruption. It's always of the same kind: People close to the source of power get the most lucrative government orders. Prince Miteb bib Abdullah, former head of the National Guard, allegedly awarded $10 million in contracts to his own companies; former Riyadh governor Turki bin Abdullah is accused of doing the same on the lucrative Riyadh Metro project. As in Russia and China, however, people around the throne who don't line their pockets are viewed with more suspicion than those who do. A purge of several dozen individuals, including the relatively liberal billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal -- who, for example, advocated lifting Saudi Arabia's driving ban for women long before MbS decided to lift it -- doesn't change the essence of the regime and is as alarming as Putin's arrest of oil oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky in 2003. That move cemented Putin's power and made other wealthy Russians fall into line, leading eventually to the recentralization and tight government control of the Russian economy."



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Emirates Profit Jumps 77% Amid Job Cuts, Reduced Dollar Impact - Bloomberg

Emirates Profit Jumps 77% Amid Job Cuts, Reduced Dollar Impact - Bloomberg:

"Emirates Group boosted first-half profit 77 percent as the biggest long-haul airline cut jobs and benefited from a more stable dollar as it seeks to recover from its first annual earnings decline for five years.

Net income increased to 2.3 billion dirhams ($630 million) in the six months ended Sept. 30, with sales advancing 6 percent to 49.4 billion dirhams, the Dubai-based company said in a statement Thursday.

Emirates has been grappling with the toughest operating conditions in a three-decade history that’s seen it become an industry heavyweight by exploiting the position of the Gulf at a natural crossroads for inter-continental flights. The carrier has reduced the payroll by 3,000 people in six months, eliminating some senior cabin crew, support staff and IT workers, and has begun charging for perks such as advance seat selection in a bid to boost revenue."



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U.A.E. to Seek Bank Account Information of 19 Saudis - Bloomberg

U.A.E. to Seek Bank Account Information of 19 Saudis - Bloomberg:

"The United Arab Emirates central bank asked financial institutions to provide information on the accounts of 19 Saudi citizens, according to people familiar with the matter.

The list includes some of those who have been arrested in Saudi Arabia during an anti-corruption drive. Among those detained are princes, billionaires, former ministers and prominent businessmen, including Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, one of the world’s richest men. The Saudi attorney general said the arrests are “phase one” of the anti-corruption drive."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Most of Gulf weak on Saudi probe, but Dubai edges up

MIDEAST STOCKS-Most of Gulf weak on Saudi probe, but Dubai edges up:

"Most Gulf stock markets were weak in early trade on Thursday because of concern about the impact of Saudi Arabia’s anti-corruption investigation, but Dubai’s bourse edged up as real estate shares rebounded.

The Saudi stock index fell 0.7 percent in the first 35 minutes as decliners outnumbered advancers by 104 to 57. Alarmed by the probe, wealthy Saudi individual investors have been dumping stocks this week -- some, fund managers say, possibly intending to move money out of the country.

But stocks in companies related to people detained in the probe regained some strength after steep losses earlier this week. Al Tayyar Travel, whose founder Nasser bin Aqeel al-Tayyar has been arrested, rose 0.4 percent after plunging 22 percent in the previous three days."



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