Saudi Royals Are Selling Homes, Yachts and Art as Crown Prince Cuts Income

File Photo: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, September 18, 2019. Mandel Ngan/Pool via Reuters/File Photo

By The Wall Street Journal

Saudi princes have sold more than $600 million worth of real estate, yachts and artwork in the U.S. and Europe since the kingdom’s de facto ruler tightened the purse strings of the ultrawealthy ruling family.

The transactions represent a sea change in fortune for the top princes who funneled windfall profits from oil booms in the 1970s and 1980s into some of the world’s most exclusive markets. The large sums of money were largely spent on hard-to-sell assets or depleted with expenses reaching $30 million a month for some royals with large staffs and lavish lifestyles, leaving them vulnerable. to recent changes in government policy.

Now some members of the royal family are selling assets abroad to generate cash after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the 36-year-old de facto ruler of the kingdom, dried up many of the sources of money they had used to support their extraordinary spending habits, he said. people close to the princes who make the sales.

The princes need cash to pay routine bills including property maintenance, taxes, staff salaries and parking fees for their planes and ships, the people said. In some cases, the people said, they are also motivated by a desire to own less ostentatious assets to avoid drawing the attention of Prince Mohammed, who has restricted his privileges and access to state funds in the Al Saud family since his father took over. the throne. in 2015. The Saudi government is aware of the sales.

“These people do not work, they have a lot of staff and they are afraid of [Prince Mohammed]said a person familiar with the transactions. The princes, the person added, want “cash in their back pocket and no visible wealth.”