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Saudis fear taking off in private jets after government crackdown

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Staff Writer | January 10, 2019
Mohammed bin Salman
Middle East   Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

A crackdown on corruption in Saudi Arabia has severely dented the kingdom's private jet industry in a sign of the effect the campaign has had on private enterprise and the wealthy elite.

Dozens of planes, owned by individuals and charter companies, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, are stranded at airports across the kingdom including Riyadh and Jeddah, four people familiar with the matter told the Reuters news agency.

Some were handed over to the state in settlements reached after the crackdown was launched in late 2017, when dozens of princes, businessmen and government officials were arrested, they said.

Others belong to Saudis who either face travel bans or are reluctant to fly the planes because they are wary of displays of wealth that might be seen as taunting the government over the anti-corruption campaign, two of the sources said.

The crackdown's effect on the business community and private enterprise, which are already reeling from low oil prices and weakened consumer confidence, has shattered investor confidence and contributed to a sense of uncertainty around the policies of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, commonly known as MBS.


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