Saudi royals sell more than $600 million in assets amid fears of new crackdown

Saudi royals sell more than $600 million in assets amid fears of new crackdown
Saudi royals are selling major assets, including yachts, Mughal jewels and holiday homes to keep up with their lavish lifestyles and hide their overt wealth, according to reports.
2 min read
25 April, 2022
The royals are reportedly trying to avoid scrutiny by Mohammed bin Salman [Getty]

Saudi royals have reportedly sold over half a billion dollars in real estate, yachts, and works of art they own in the US and Europe to generate new sources of income, fearing that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will cut down on royal privileges and access to state funds. 

The royals have resorted to liquidating a total of $600 million worth of major assets, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Some of their bills include taxes, property maintenance, salaries, and parking fees for their airplanes and boats, according to the report. Some royals' lavish lifestyles and large teams of staff mean spending habits have reached $30 million a month.

Some of the assets include a British country estate worth $155 million, two yachts more than 200 feet long, and a wedding present of Mughal jewels. 

Live Story

Some of those shedding their assets were once among the kingdom's powerful figures, including Prince Bandar bin Sultan, former ambassador to Washington, according to the report.

"These people don't work, they have huge staffs and they're afraid of [Prince Mohammed]," a source familiar with the transactions told WSJ, adding that the royals prefer to have "cash in their back pocket and not to have visible wealth".

The shadow of bin Salman's Ritz-Carlton purge of 2017 lives on for many royals who were detained at the hotel in an apparent crackdown on corruption.

Many fear the repercussions of having their wealth on display.

In November 2017, the hotel was shut down after bin Salman ordered the detention of princes, ministers and tycoons, in what authorities referred to as an anti-corruption campaign.

Many of the high-profile suspects, including billionaire Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, were released in exchange for what officials called financial settlements. 

Critics labelled the infamous campaign a shakedown and power grab.