Expat investors shunning Saudi Arabia following Khashoggi murder

Published:  29 Nov at 6 PM
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Tagged: Moving, Australia, Money
Expat as well as Arab investors are shunning Saudi Arabia after the Khashoggi murder and its world-wide condemnation

Foreign investment in Saudi Arabia is lagging due to the worldwide backlash against the Khashoggi murder. The last thing wealthy investors need is a worldwide scandal suggesting it’s not just the top echelon which isn’t playing it straight but also businesses in which they’re planning to invest. General opinion now accepts that instructions as regards Khashoggi’s murder came from the all-powerful Crown Prince Mohammad, whose elevation by the Saudi king has changed the face of the country.

Bankers and executives as well as billionaire expat private investors are now shying away from involvement in the kingdom as they fear instability due to the prince’s consolidation of power over the past year or so and its culmination in the murder. As a result, Saudi Arabia is now expected to find difficulty in attracting the kind of money it needs to lessen its reliance on oil revenues, especially as many ultra-wealthy residents are now seen to be moving their fortunes elsewhere. It seems the leadership’s questionable governance is tarnishing the reputations of Saudi companies in general.

The drain of wealth from the kingdom began following Prince Mohammed’s arrests of a large number of his ultra-wealthy contemporaries and their imprisonment in the Ritz Carlton hotel, which resulted in billions of dollars finding their way out of the kingdom and into safe havens overseas. Another questionable move was the diplomatic blockage and boycott of Qatar, a move which the smaller emirate managed to counter very quickly and very successfully by utilising its good relationships with other Muslim countries. Multinational companies are holding their breath for further action by the Saudi heir to the throne, and money continues to haemorrhage from the kingdom.

Saudi Arabia’s new instability could well lead to a dearth of expat professionals willing to commit their futures to its economy, however high the salaries offered, as well as a reduction in the numbers of multinationals with offices in the kingdom. Bankers and executives are now nervous about the prince’s next moves, expats with families are beginning to wonder whether they should stay or go and former investors are moving on to safer homes for their millions.
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