Report: One of the Saudis Held at Ritz Didn't Leave It Alive

New York Times' sources allege physical abuse occurred
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 12, 2018 8:19 AM CDT
Report Tells of Saudi Family Feud, Quest for Billions, Physical Abuse
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman conducts a meeting with Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May in this Wednesday March 7, 2018, photo.   (Dan Kitwood/Pool via AP)

It's a battle over an inheritance that goes well beyond the normal family drama: The New York Times takes a deep dive into Saudi Arabia's sweeping November roundup of businessmen and elites accused of wrongdoing, who were held at the Riyadh Ritz-Carlton until reportedly settling with the government to the tune of a collective $106 billion. It traces one target: King Abdullah's children. He was the monarch that preceded his half-brother, King Salman, and the Times explains his Abdullah Foundation is thought to have paid out $340 million to each of his sons and $200 million to each of his daughters upon his 2015 death; he had more than 30 children. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, "the architect of the crackdown," wanted the money back—and the allegation is now that physical abuse was used to get it.

The Times' sources say at least 17 businessmen kept at the Ritz were hospitalized due to the alleged abuse, which the government in an email denies having taken place, saying all detainees had "access to ... medical care to address pre-existing, chronic conditions." The most extreme alleged example involves Maj. Gen. Ali al-Qahtani, a Saudi military officer who is said to have died while being held. A source who saw his body describes his neck as being unnaturally twisted and his body as bloated and bruised. The Times notes Qahtani was not a wealthy man, but it does lay out this connection: The administrator of the Abdullah Foundation is one of the late king's sons, Prince Turki, who was detained; Qahtani was one of Turki's top aides. The article also details an allegedly shady situation around the transfer of the Arab world's biggest private media company. (More Saudi Arabia stories.)

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