Saudi corruption settlements will net "not significantly less" than $13 bln in 2019 -minister

Saudi Minister of Finance Mohammed al-Jadaan speaks during a news conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia December 18, 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 19 December 2018

Saudi corruption settlements will net "not significantly less" than $13 bln in 2019 -minister

  • Mohammed al-Jadaan also said that construction giant Saudi Binladin Group would soon have a "normal board" with family members and representatives of government

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's finance minister said on Wednesday that cash settlements from an anti-corruption campaign would net "not significantly less" in 2019 than the 50 billion Saudi riyals ($13.3 billion) collected in 2018.
Mohammed al-Jadaan also said in a Reuters interview that construction giant Saudi Binladin Group, in which the government took a roughly one third stake under the campaign, would soon have a "normal board" with family members and representatives of government ownership.
He added that the kingdom's sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund, has no role in a ministry-owned company that is managing assets seized through settlements with dozens of Saudi elite detained last year under the corruption purge.


Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf? Not Rami, the Saudi who has seven as pets

Updated 23 January 2020

Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf? Not Rami, the Saudi who has seven as pets

  • At home with the Saudi man who has four young children … and a pack of ferocious carnivores as the family pets

AL-JOUF: Guests visiting Rami Al-Sarhan’s home in Al-Jouf are understandably concerned when he asks if they would like to stroke the family pets.

These “pets” are not Tiddles the cat and Fido the dog — they are seven fully grown adult wolves.

The normally ferocious creatures make ideal domestic companions, Rami, 30, assured Arab News. And he has no fears for the safety of his young children, aged 8, 6, 4 and 3.

“The wolves literally live with us in the same home,” he said. “They eat with us and follow us when we go to the farm, and even sit with us in the same room when we have guests over.

“They have grown accustomed to our life and do not attack anyone who sits with us, even if they are a stranger.”

His friendship with wolves started about 11 years ago when an uncle started taking them into his home. Rami began studying them and their behavior, which he can now predict with considerable accuracy. The wolves are friendly and pose no danger to humans if handled properly with the correct precautions, he said.

Although they are wild animals, wolves can adapt to a domestic environment and one of the best ways to gain their trust was to share food and eat with them, Rami said.

FASTFACT

Food should be given to wolves without getting too close or interacting directly with them.

However, he is careful not to feed them raw meat, and he keeps his distance from the wolves during the winter mating season, which can last for two weeks.

Food should be given to wolves without getting too close or interacting directly with them, Rami said. “They are naturally ferocious but can be hostile and defensive if someone gets close to them. A wolf eats its prey but gets defensive if it gets attacked.”

Rami is also dismissive of the many superstitions that surround the animals, such as the one about wolves eating jinn. “What is funny is that many people come to me and ask me to give them strands of wolf hair so they can put it on the body of a ‘jinn-haunted’ person for healing” he said. “These are superstitions and do not make any sense.”

However tame a wolf might appear, Rami said, people should always remain cautious around them, study their every move, and avoid doing anything to scare them.

“Most importantly, show your respect to wolves and let them know that you recognize and respect them in order to be friends with you.”

Despite his assurances, if Rami ever invites you to his home “for dinner,” it might be as well to seek confirmation: “Am I eating … or am I the first course?”