Saudis calm Nor­folk ho­tel after ty­coon owner ar­rest

Business Daily (Kenya) - - ECONOMY & POLITICS - Brian Ngugi bn­joroge@ke.na­tion­media.com

Kenya’s five-star ho­tels, in­clud­ing the Nairobi Nor­folk, have been of­fered as­sur­ance by Saudi author­i­ties of their busi­ness con­ti­nu­ity after the ar­rest and freez­ing of their owner’s bank ac­counts in a cor­rup­tion purge.

Saudi author­i­ties had ear­lier said the gov­ern­ment would seize any as­set or prop­erty linked to the sus­pects in the crack­down in­clud­ing dol­lar bil­lion­aire Prince Al-waleed bin Talal, who owns a string of top global ho­tels in­clud­ing Nor­folk.

The cor­rup­tion crack­down has sent shock waves in the busi­ness com­mu­nity, with fears of dis­rup­tion to their busi­nesses both in Saudi Ara­bia and abroad. But the coun­try’s Coun­cil of Eco­nomic and De­vel­op­ment Af­fairs said in a Fi­nan­cial Times re­port in­structed of­fi­cials to en­sure that ac­tiv­i­ties of com­pa­nies, “in­clud­ing those wholly or partly owned by in­di­vid­u­als un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion, were not dis­rupted while in­ves­ti­ga­tions into cor­rup­tion were un­der way”.

Mr Al-waleed, one of the world’s rich­est men, is the owner of Nairobi Nor­folk Ho­tel. He was among high-rank­ing Saudi of­fi­cials ar­rested on Sun­day ac­cused of money laun­der­ing, bribery, ex­tor­tion and chan­nelling gov­ern­ment con­tracts to com­pa­nies linked to the sus­pects.

Mr Al-waleed owns a sig­nif­i­cant stake in the five-star Fair­mont Raf­fles group.

Its sta­ble of ho­tels in Kenya in­cludes the Fair­mont Mara Sa­fari Club and Fair­mont Mount Kenya Sa­fari Club.

The three iconic ho­tels, col­lec­tively boast of 290 guest rooms and suites, 51 lux­ury tents and over 10 food and bev­er­age out­lets.

FILE

PURGE Nor­folk owner bil­lion­aire Prince Al-waleed bin Talal.

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