Saudi royals, feeling the squeeze from the crown prince, are selling off their assets to raise cash.
Princes have sold more than $600 million worth of real estate, yachts, jewels and other assets to pay their bills, the Wall Street Journal reported. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman began reeling in privileges and access to government funds in the Al Saud family in 2015, when his father took the throne.
Prince Muhammad has gradually cut them off from lucrative real estate, oil and business deals with the government. He also ended perks such as paying for their vacations and utility bills at their palaces, which was costing the government hundreds of millions of dollars each year.
The state has also levied a $2,500 tax for each domestic worker hired beyond the fourth.
The princes are selling off their assets to help pay for taxes, property maintenance and staff, as well as to avoid further attracting the crown prince’s attention. Recent deals include the sale of Prince Bandar bin Sultan’s British country estate for $155 million.
“These people don’t work, they have huge staffs and they’re afraid of [Prince Mohammed],” one person familiar with the deals told the newspaper. The person added that the royals want “cash in their back pocket and not to have visible wealth.” [The Wall Street Journal] — Kathryn Brenzel