Detained Saudi Prince Buys His Freedom For $1 Billion

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Originally appeared at Zero Hedge

One day you were the billionaire head of the National Guard in one of the world’s most brutal dictatorships. Although that carries some risk, you were probably reassured by your position as a senior prince in the ruling family, never mind your strong ties to the US military… oh and of course the many zeros in your bank account. The next day, in a turn of events akin to Shakespearian drama, you were imprisoned (kind of) with ten of your fellow princes and a bunch of ministers and former ministers in a 5 star hotel on charges of money laundering, bribery and general corruption.

Detained Saudi Prince Buys His Freedom For $1 Billion

Despite being a cousin of the Kingdom’s uber-autocratic crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), Prince Miteb bin Abdullah was a son of former King Abdullah and got caught up in a clan war in the ruling family. Former Riyadh governor and another of King Abdullah’s sons, Turki bin Abdullah, was also arrested in the crackdown.

Miteb was accused of conducting normal business practices in Saudi Arabia, such as embezzlement, hiring “ghost” employees and awarding his own companies a $10 billion contract for walkie-talkies and bullet proof protection. However, after what must have been the worst three and a half weeks of his life in the Ritz Carlton “prison”, Miteb has purchased his freedom for a cool $1 billion.

Detained Saudi Prince Buys His Freedom For $1 Billion

According to Bloomberg, “Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, one of the most senior Saudi royals detained in the kingdom’s corruption crackdown, has been released after reaching a settlement deal believed to exceed the equivalent of $1 billion, an official involved in the anti-graft campaign said.”

Prince Miteb, who headed the powerful National Guard until earlier this month, was released Tuesday, the official said on condition of anonymity in discussing matters under the supervision of the public prosecutor. At least three other suspects have also finalized settlement deals, the official said. It wasn’t immediately possible to reach Prince Miteb, son of the late King Abdullah, for comment.

The unnamed official told Bloomberg that the public prosecutor will proceed with prosecutions of at least five others. However, Bloomberg notes that the leadership is keen to resolve the corruption issue quickly, a.k.a. extract as much money as possible for the Kingdom’s ailing economy and remove the unwanted media focus from the key western ally dysfunctional country and its royal family.

Prince Miteb’s release, less than a month since his arrest, shows the speed at which Saudi Arabia wants to settle the corruption probe that involved the sudden arrests of royals and billionaires such as Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. The crackdown has shaken the kingdom and reverberated across the world as analysts, bankers and diplomats assess its impact on power in the world’s biggest oil exporter.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s predominant leader known as MBS, said the majority of those being detained had agreed to pay back some of the money they had gained illegally in exchange for their freedom. The prince said authorities could recover as much as $100 billion in settlements.

Some suspects started making payments to settle cases in exchange for freedom, people with knowledge of the matter said last week. Businessmen and officials signed agreements with authorities to transfer a portion of their assets to avoid trial and have started to transfer funds from personal accounts to government-controlled accounts, the people said, asking not to be identified because the discussions are private.

While researching the story, Bloomberg found an academic with finely honed skills in stating the obvious with regard to Saudi Arabia’s version of a “night of the long knives.”

“Most princes arrested will certainly try to buy their way out, and we will see more of them doing just that to avoid jail time,” said Raihan Ismail, an associate lecturer at the Centre for Arab & Islamic Studies at the Australian National University in Canberra. “This process lacks accountability and integrity. I doubt that detailed charges will ever be released, especially if settlements are reached.”

Speaking to Bloomberg, Alef Advisory, a political risk advisory firm, paints the “corruption crackdown” by MBS in glowing terms, expecting it to earn political capital with the Saudi population.

The opacity of the system doesn’t take away “from the political capital that MBS probably earned from this from the Saudi public” by declaring war on corruption, Hani Sabra, founder of New York-based Alef Advisory wrote in a report. “We continue to believe that MBS’s risky domestic gambits are likely to succeed.”

We doubt that the long-suffering Saudi population will view it as anything more than MBS tightening his grip on power, in an effort to stop the nation splitting apart due to growing economic and political fissures. According to Bloomberg, however, our cynicism is unjustified…MBS says so.

King Salman fired Prince Miteb shortly before midnight Nov. 4 and announced the formation of an anti-corruption commission headed by the crown prince. Prince Miteb’s arrest fueled speculation that the crackdown was more about tightening the crown prince’s grip on power, a claim he dismissed as “ludicrous” in an interview with the New York Times’ columnist Thomas Friedman this month.

In “Groveling In Excrement’: Thomas Friedman Mercilessly Mocked For Bizarre Saudi Puff Piece”, we noted that Friedman’s “fawning hagiography” of MBS has received the derision is deserved.

…most astute observers of developments in the Saudi kingdom of horrors hardly need convincing that Saudi’s rulers are among the most backwards and repressive on earth, which makes Thomas Friedman’s interview and column on MbS all the more absurd and laughable.

It’s not clear yet what the terms of Miteb’s release are, and whether he will be again detained, this time under house arrest at yet another luxury “prison.” However, by showing uncharacteristic leniency in not putting senior rivals to the sword (or at least imprisoning them indefinitely), we wonder whether MBS has ended the clan fight within the ruling family, or whether it’s on hold.

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  • Serious

    That’s all about Arabs : clanic wars. That’s why they are so weak.

  • Barba_Papa

    People keep talking about how about every right winger they disagree with is the next Hitler. But what is the next Hitler? What makes Hitler so uniquely evil that he is still a boogeyman to this very day? What is it about the next Hitler that has the MSM firing on all cylinders and calling for war to stop him? Is it his racism? Apartheid era South Africa and Segregation era US were just as institutionally racist. Is it because he wanted to exterminate a certain population? The communists did that too, if not more so. Hutu extremists tried to do the same in Rwanda. There was no talk of ‘the next Hitler’ as the Rwandan genocide was on its way. The Burmese Rohinja? The Pope does not even dare to mention them. Yet he shows no hesitation when it comes to supposed Western racism.

    Logically what makes Hitler the true boogeyman that calls for immediate smackdown is not him persecuting some group in his own country, or racism. Lots of countries and leaders did so, but they weren’t bothering their neighbors with it. It’s because Hitler planned and started a war of aggression that turned the whole continent, and adjacent continents on fire. Had he just exterminated German jews and left it at that he would have been an unsavory footnote of history. Historians would agree it was bad, for a jew in Germany, but other then that life went on in the rest of the world. And that’s all the world really cares about. No, it was his megalomania that ignited a world war that made him such a danger. Therefore it should be leaders who are as unpredictable and megalomaniac as Hitler that should have us worried as ‘the next Hitler’. And not because they may or may not condem a few racists and grabbed some women by the pussy. And in that sense MBS is the next Hitler. For he seems crazy as fuck, is utterly unpredictable, and seems hell bent on starting a major war in the Middle East. With Israel and the US there to help fan the flames of insanity.

    But I fully expect the MSM to continue to focus on the next faux pas of Trump, that proves the guy is racist, and therefore the very reincarnation of Hitler. And Western leaders to rim MBS’s asshole in exchange for cheap oil.

    • dutchnational

      I fulltime agree with the beginning of your comment. Let us wait and see on MBS. Maybe in a few years he will be called saviour of KSA.

      • Jim Martin

        I though that Al Waleed was one of the progressive good guys in Saudi Arabia? What is your take on him??

    • Solomon Krupacek

      hitler was able to do all those sin in one time. plus main kampf. his own ideology.

      • Garga

        Just out of curiosity, have you read Mein Kampf? If yes, which version?

        • Solomon Krupacek

          yes, i read. bullshit. but the masses enjoyed it.

          • Garga

            Do you know you read which version of it?
            Publication, year, something.

          • Solomon Krupacek

            30s of 20th century. in german. i have in my private library.

          • Garga

            My my, an original, unaltered, uncensored copy?
            Me likey!

          • Solomon Krupacek

            yes. i have almost 3000 book, oldest from 1825.

    • beh51

      Great Britain started WW11 , not Germany. The Brits have the responsibility for the war, not Germany.

      • Barba_Papa

        Dream on! Hitler wanted a world war. He was pissed off beyond belief when the British handed him Czechoslovakia and the Sudentenland on a silver platter. He WANTED a world war. It was his dream to expand Germany’s borders and acquire more lebensraum. It’s in his fucking book! Have you read it? I have.

  • You can call me Al

    Just look at the first photo, of him, again….

    What a fat, odorous, evil POS.

    PS Look at the item on the right hand side of the picture that seem to dangle; is that some automated seat or something ?

    • Pave Way IV

      Binoculars with a strap. He’s on the lookout for unemployed, pissed off Saudi Wahhabi Caliphate head-choppers returning to Riyadh from Syria. They’re looking for their back-pay and enough Captagon to fuel one last suicide attack on the fat-ass al Saud royals. Although Prince Grumpy above seems to have lost a little weight lately. Secret new diet?

  • Rodger

    $1 billion is just about enough to keep the Saudi welfare system going for about 2 extra days. :’)
    If you’re going to purge at least do it right.

    • Barba_Papa

      You can’t say purge with at least some dead bodies found shot in the back of their necks in some ditch in the middle of nowhere.

      • dutchnational

        Not in Syria, nor in many other arab states.

        The men are all guilty of corruption, nepotism and the status of present day KSA.

        So let them pay. I feel no pity for them. Do you?

  • Serious

    Sunnism makes sunnis stupid.

  • MeMadMax

    Stupid.
    The whole saudi system of economics and its overt ties with the outside world is the cause of the problem…

    These crackdowns do nothing but create new “revolutionaries” when the system breaksdown to the right point….

  • Solomon Krupacek

    another 1 milliard usd – as reward for head os msb :))

  • Brother Ma

    So when can we start imprisoning the one percent in usa. We could build cheap hospitals, better schools and pay living wages………….you know the standard of living of syria before usa “moderate rebelled” it!