Saudi Arabia’s crackdown on corruption has spread beyond its borders as regulators in the United Arab Emirates ask UAE banks for information about Saudi citizens detained in the investigation, a possible prelude to freezing their accounts. The UAE central bank has requested commercial banks and finance companies in the UAE to provide details of the accounts of 19 Saudis, commercial bankers told Reuters yesterday, declining to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter. Almost all of the 19, including billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and former National Guard chief Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, are known to be among dozens of senior officials and businessmen detained in the corruption inquiry. Commercial bankers said UAE authorities had not explained why they wanted the information, but believed the authorities were acting at the behest of the Saudi Government, which has said it aims to recover billions of dollars of illicit assets identified in its investigation.
Brexit border worries
British hopes of opening Brexit trade and transition talks this December were thrown into renewed doubt as it emerged that Ireland is making fresh demands over the Northern Ireland border question, according to the Daily Telegraph. It said the toughened Irish stance, reflected in a leaked European Commission document, blindsided British officials at Brexit negotiations in Brussels yesterday as Ireland piled on pressure in the talks. British officials had believed that question of how to avoid creating a hard Irish border when Britain quits the EU single market and customs union had been “parked” until the EU opened talks over trade and the future relationship. However the leaked talking points paper entitled Dialogue on Ireland/Northern Ireland shows Ireland is now pushing hard for concrete reassurance on the Irish border question ahead of the crucial EU leaders’ summit in December.
Thieves find alcohol stash
Burglars in Pakistan stumbled upon a secret stash of more than US$150,000 ($215,970) worth of black market alcohol after breaking into a North Korean diplomat’s home in Islamabad. Neighbours told Reuters news agency that a group of men kicked down the door of Hyon Ki Yong’s house and spent spent three hours removing thousands of bottles of Scotch whisky, beer and French wine. They also ran off with dozens of bottles of tequila, two diamonds and US$3000 in cash. Investigators in Pakistan, who have since recovered much of the stash, said the three robbers were police officers and have issued arrest warrants for them and for a member of a well-known bootlegging family. They have also arrested Hyon’s housekeeper.
The doughnut bandit
A man has been caught on camera holding up a Houston doughnut shop and handing out doughnuts to customers whose cellphones he was taking. Police released surveillance video this week that shows three men wearing hoodies and bandannas robbing the store. While two of the men were behind the counter demanding the cash from the registers, the third took the cellphones of the two customers in the store. He then jumped over the counter, exchanged words with the customers and picked out two doughnuts, which he handed to them in wax paper. The suspects then left the store. Police are searching for them.