A man speaks on the phone as he walks past posters depicting Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, November 9, 2017. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser
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Saudi Arabia has announced it will confiscate money and assets held by dozens of top officials and businessmen detained in an anti-corruption crackdown. But the experiences of two other Arab states trying to recover stolen money, Egypt and Tunisia, suggest Riyadh may face years of legal and diplomatic battles to secure assets held abroad. The offshore scrutiny of assets has already begun in the Gulf region, where Saudi Arabia regularly shares information.Often assets are held in complex offshore vehicles making it hard to show who really owns them.Carlo Lombardini, a banking lawyer and professor of banking law at the University of Lausanne, said that Riyadh would have to provide detailed evidence proving how the money was obtained to seize assets in Switzerland on the grounds of corruption.Saudi officials would have to satisfy Swiss authorities that owners of assets had been given due process.A Gulf-based lawyer familiar with international corruption cases said there were two channels through which Saudi Arabia could pursue assets abroad.
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