The crown prince faces a serious challenge in reducing government handouts. AFP / Fayez Nureldine
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Saudi Arabia increased its payments to some members of the royal family just as officials were wrapping up a controversial anti-corruption campaign that targeted some of the kingdom's richest men and most prominent princes, according to three people with knowledge of the matter. The most recent monthly stipend – paid after the government had stopped covering electricity and water bills for royalty – was raised by as much as 50 percent, two of the people said. It's not clear whether the payment was a one-time bonus or will continue each month, or how widely the money was distributed.After complaints about rising prices, King Salman ordered a handout worth more than 50 billion riyals ($13.3 billion) to support many ordinary Saudis, helped by a rise in Brent oil prices to about $70 a barrel.Members of the Al Saud ruling family number in the thousands. The government has never disclosed how many people receive the stipends or how large they are.
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