The site quoted Canadian lawyer, David Lessberance, as saying that he had always advised dozens of Gulf families, including the Saudis, since the 1990s, to secure themselves with the second nationality.
He revealed that he had clients who were able to escape by themselves from the “Ritz” arrests, because they listened to his advice and were holding a second nationality for a country other than Saudi Arabia.
In November 2017, the Saudi Crown Prince, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, ordered the arrest of 381 prominent Saudi businessmen and members of the royal family, including ministers, during which they were deposited in the “Ritz-Carlton” hotel in the capital, Riyadh, under the pretext of “fighting corruption.”
The Saudi authorities pressured the “Ritz-Carlton” hotel detainees, through several methods, including physical assault, to hand over the assets they own, which totaled more than $ 106 billion, according to Al-Monitor.
In statements to Al-Monitor, Ryan Paul, a Middle East analyst at the US-based geopolitical risk company Stratfor, said that the anti-corruption campaigns led by the Gulf Cooperation Council countries “are now being used to confiscate the assets of those whom the state considers to be disloyal.”
In this context, according to the site, some GCC citizens who are exposed to risks related to political repression see the second nationality as a “strategic exit.”
The site pointed out that “the preferred destinations for the second nationality have become known to these people, including Cyprus, Ireland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and the Caribbean Islands, but the companies working in these operations that they perform secretly do not disclose the number of Persian Gulf citizens who have bought the second nationality.”
However, some documents leaked to the Qatari Al-Jazeera channel earlier this year revealed that about 2,500 individuals from 74 countries bought a Cypriot passport between 2017 and 2019, indicating that applications from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia “have increased since the rise of Muhammad. Bin Salman “to the mandate of the Covenant.
Also, according to the site, requests to obtain second passports from citizens of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries have increased for nearly a decade, as some senior officials and members of the royal families fear that social discontent will lead to shifts in power and freeze their assets.
The site revealed that in 2019, Cyprus granted citizenship to a relative of a Saudi citizen who is held in the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and a member of the “Bin Laden” family, which was once one of the most influential families in the Kingdom, as during the “Bin Salman” campaign, 3 brothers were arrested From the “bin Laden” family and the state has effectively taken over the family’s group of companies.
The site noted that some wealthy Saudis moved their financial assets “out of the region entirely” in the days following the Ritz-Carlton arrests.
In the context, Jason Tuvey, chief economist in emerging markets at Capital Economics, said that there is “a jump in the Saudi residents making bank deposits abroad.”
The site pointed out that the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council “either prohibit dual citizenship or require government approval to obtain it,” as they fear that second passports may become “shields through which opponents can attack their policies with impunity.”
Meanwhile, Al-Monitor showed that the repressive practices of the Gulf authorities do not stop at something, as Saudi agents kidnapped 3 princes living in Europe between 2015 and 2017, and a year later, an assassination squad killed and dismembered the prominent Saudi journalist and writer for the Washington Post, Jamal Khashoggi. “, Who was a resident of the United States, and had 3 children who were citizens of the United States, but the incident took place at his country’s consulate in Istanbul.
In this regard, Ziad Karakji, the managing partner of a Beirut-based company specializing in residency and citizenship programs, said, “It goes beyond obtaining a second citizenship. Walid Bin Talal is a high-profile Saudi investor who holds a Lebanese passport. With all his strength and connections, he remained in The Ritz-Carlton, until it agreed to the settlement.
Al-Monitor talked about the political movement that Saudi Arabia could witness, saying that in September 2020, a group of Saudi dissidents, most of them in exile, crossed a red line by announcing the formation of a pro-democracy political party to demand peaceful change and fight what they described as “state violence and suppression.” “.
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