Thu, 20 Sep 2018

Gulf markets hit by royal purge, Trump comes out in support

Bahrain News
09 Nov 2017, 08:45 GMT+10

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - All major Gulf stock markets were down on Wednesday after an anti-corruption drive in which senior officials, ministers and princes were arrested.

Saudi Arabia is now trying to reassure investors that the anti-corruption drive will not affect businesses. 

Over the weekend, dozens of high-profile figures including billionaire Al-Waleed bin Talal were arrested which has created uncertainty among businesses that could intensify capital flight or derail reforms. 

The bank accounts of the accused have been frozen and authorities have warned that any assets related to corruption cases would be seized as state property.

Central bank chief Ahmed Abdulkarim AlKholifey said in a statement, “It is worth clarifying that concerned individual accounts rather than their corporate businesses have been put in suspension until final court rulings. In other words, corporate businesses remain unaffected. It is business as usual for both banks and corporate.”

Reports added that Saudi commerce minister Majid al-Qasabi’s companies, including those owned by the arrested elites, will be given full protection under the law.

Local media has reported that since the purge over the weekend, more arrests have been made. 

Naser bin Aqeel al-Tayyar, the founder of one of Saudi Arabia's biggest travel companies, has reportedly been arrested. 

In a statement to Saudi stock exchange, his company said that it can confirm "continuation of business to serve the interests of shareholders and customers.”

U.S. President Donald Trump has shown support to the crackdown saying that some of those arrested have been "milking" Saudi Arabia for years.

Many people have admired the move. 

The purge has been seen by many as King Salman’s way of assuring that there is no opposition to the Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s ascent to the throne.

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