Just a couple of months after Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri's shock resignation from Saudi Arabia, the kingdom's crown prince Mohammed bin Salman has reportedly expressed interest in seizing the assets of Hariri, as revealed by The New Arab.
Riyadh has its eyes set on Hariri's assets in Saudi Oger construction company, which discontinued operations in July 2017, "in return for canceling outstanding debts."
"Although Saudi Oger does not have many assets left after liquidating its businesses, the authorities are determined to reclaim all funds and assets that were sold off," the unnamed source is believed to have told The New Arab.
Saudi Oger - founded by Lebanon's late Prime Minister Rafik Hariri - put a halt to its operations after 39 years in the business. The majority of the company's assets have been transferred.
However, the company still has three projects, including a 15-year maintenance and operation contract for a university in the kingdom.
Following MBS's new leadership role in the kingdom, Saudi Oger witnessed its closure amid financial burdens the company has been facing for years.
"The government owes Oger about 30 billion riyals ($8 billion) for work it has completed. This huge backlog of payments has left Oger struggling to meet its obligations, including 15 billion riyals of loans, billions of riyals owed to contractors and suppliers, and 2.5 billion riyals to workers in back and severance pay," Reuters reported in 2016.
This comes amid the anti-corruption purge in the kingdom
In November, a crackdown on corruption in the kingdom saw over 208 nationals – including leading princes, businessmen, and scholars – get detained under orders from a new anti-corruption committee, lead by MBS.
A number of high-profile Saudi officials were transferred to Riyadh's Ritz Carlton which has now become a "luxury prison."
The luxury hotel will reopen next month for business as many of the cases are coming to a close.
Saudi authorities said "they expect the vast majority of suspects to agree to financial settlements of charges against them, and that Riyadh hopes to recover about $100 billion of illicit funds," according to The Telegraph.
In November, authorities in the kingdom asked those detained to "pay for their freedom." According to The Financial Times, the Saudi government is demanding up to 70 percent of the detained individuals' personal wealth.