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3. Detained Saudi princes asked to hand over assets

Western media reports say the Saudi Arabian authorities have asked detained princes and business people to hand over their assets in exchange for their release.

The authorities have detained 201 people in a crackdown on corruption. They have also frozen their bank accounts.

Those held include Prince Alwaleed bin Tatal, who owns a skyscraper in the capital, Riyadh. But the names of most of the detainees are not known.

Western media outlets say the authorities have told the detainees to give up assets that were stolen through graft if they want to be released and not go on trial.

Bloomberg estimates that 50 to 100 billion dollars will be transferred to the national treasury.

Some observers say Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is trying to consolidate his power base on his path to the throne.

They believe he wants to secure the funds he needs to accelerate economic reforms.

But there are concerns that foreign investment in Saudi Arabia could be affected by the latest developments.
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