Riyadh has issued a statement saying that is has only frozen the accounts of individuals and not their related corporate entities, as it seeks to ease concerns that its anti-corruption drive could undermine investor confidence.
“It is worth clarifying here 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 corporates,” the government said in a statement of published by the Saudi Press Agency.
The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (Sama) has suspended accounts in response to requests from the attorney general pending legal cases launched against individuals for corruption.
A new committee chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to combat corruption was established on 4 November. Within hours of the new body being announced 11 princes, four sitting ministers and tens of former ministers were detained. The princes are reported to include Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, the head of Kingdom Holding, and the ministers include Finance Minister Ibrahim al-Assaf. The Ritz Carlton hotel in Riyadh had been emptied to house the detained princes and ministers.