Billions recovered in anti-graft drive, reveals Saudi finance minister

Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan told the World Economic Forum that the Kingdom has recovered billions of dollars from citizens accused of corruption. (Photo courtesy of WEF)
Updated 26 January 2018

Billions recovered in anti-graft drive, reveals Saudi finance minister

DAVOS: Saudi Arabia has recovered billions of dollars from citizens accused of fraud and embezzlement in the anti-corruption campaign underway in the Kingdom, Mohammed Al-Jadaan, the finance minister, said.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, he declined to confirm reports that the government had netted $100 billion from the anti-graft drive but said: “I cannot comment on that figure, but yes we have recovered some.
“But everybody is equal before the law and that is what has been happening. These are very smart people. They do not just have things in bank accounts, so we’re unlikely to recover cash but there will be assets inside and outside Saudi Arabia.”
He said that the recovered assets would be used to pay for items of national expenditure for Saudi citizens, such as the Citizens’ Account and the recent economic stimulus package.
Al-Jadaan’s comments came in a WEF session entitled “Building Saudi Arabia’s future economy,” featuring leading economic policymakers and Stephen Schwarzman, CEO of US private equity investor Blackstone.
Schwarzman said: “It is incredible what is going on. It is happening so fast and it’s so bold. All the things that are regarded as best practice in the world were not there before, now they will be. You see economic growth when you have an informed and reformed government.”
Mohammed Al-Tuwaijri, the minister of economy and planning who is in charge of the Kingdom’s $200 billion privatization program, said that there were three challenges with the transformation program underway in the Kingdom to reduce oil dependency — the capacity of people to achieve it, the communication necessary for the outside world to take part in it, and the cost involved.
“In terms of execution, in the next couple of years you will see lots of things getting done,” he said.
Majid Al-Qasabi, minister of commerce and investment, told the session that Vision 2030 was “an ambitious and proactive blueprint.”
He added: “In the past, we have lacked the culture of planning. But that has changed now, and we are able to offer potential investors opportunities based on an ecosystem that is investment-friendly.”
He outlined new laws on bankruptcy, mortgages and franchise operations that would be implemented in the near future.
Asked if the anti-corruption drive would deter foreign investment in the Kingdom, Al-Jadaan said: “Should people be worried about coming to Saudi Arabia? Absolutely not.
“It is the quality and the cost of your proposition that will determine whether you are successful in doing business in Saudi Arabia, not how much you pay in bribes.”


Chinese artificial intelligence company files $1.4 billion lawsuit against Apple

Updated 03 August 2020

Chinese artificial intelligence company files $1.4 billion lawsuit against Apple

  • Xiao-i argued that Apple’s voice-recognition technology Siri infringes on a patent that it applied for in 2004

SHANGHAI: Chinese artificial intelligence company Shanghai Zhizhen Intelligent Network Technology Co., also known as Xiao-i, has filed a lawsuit against Apple, alleging it has infringed on its patents.
The company is calling for $1.43 billion in damages and demands that Apple cease “manufacturing, using, promising to sell, selling, and importing” products that infringe on the patent, it said in a social media post.
Xiao-i argued that Apple’s voice-recognition technology Siri infringes on a patent that it applied for in 2004 and was granted in 2009.
Apple did not respond to a request for comment. Reuters was not immediately available to find a copy of the court filing.
The lawsuit marks the continuation of a row that has been ongoing for nearly a decade.
Shanghai Zhizhen first sued Apple for patent infringement in 2012 regarding its voice recognition technology. In July, China’s Supreme People’s court ruled that the patent was valid.