Saudi Arabia prepares to auction detained billionaire’s real estate, cars

  • Saudi authorities are preparing to auction billions of dollars of real estate and cars belonging to billionaire Maan al-Sanea and his company as they look to hasten an end to one of the kingdom’s longest-running debt disputes.
  • The planned sale is the latest signal that Saudi Arabia is serious about holding its elites to account. In an anti-corruption crackdown last November, authorities detained scores of senior officials on charges of alleged graft. Most have been released after being exonerated or agreeing to give the state money, assets or real estate.
  • A source at the Ministry of Justice confirmed to Reuters an auction would be launched this month to sell vehicles, equipment, a large quantity of building materials and some property before the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan, which starts in May.
  • The auction is set to take place a few weeks after the government wound down the anti-corruption crackdown that involved the detention of scores of senior Saudi officials, including princes, in Riyadh’s luxurious Ritz-Carlton Hotel. The government has said the process raised more than $100 billion, mostly in the form of land, stakes in businesses and other illiquid assets rather than cash.

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