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One of Saudi Arabia’s wealthiest men has been investing in Russian energy companies, Reuters reported, citing a tweet by Kingdom Holding, a Saudi business majority owned by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.
As part of its three-year investment program, Kingdom Holding poured some $360 million into Gazprom, another $109 million into Lukoil, and a bit over $52 million into Rosneft. The investments were made via purchases of American depositary receipts of the three companies.
The investments were made between February and March this year. In addition to these, Kingdom Holding also invested in Alibaba, BlackRock, Uber, Lyft, and M&G, an investment management firm. All these investments were part of the company’s three-year program, totaling $3.4 billion.
The Financial Times recalls that Prince Alwaleed was among prominent Saudi businessmen and officials that the government detained at the Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh in 2017 in what it called a corruption clampdown.
The detainees at the Ritz-Carlton were later released after making agreements with the authorities, the details of which were not released. The government said it had collected some $100 billion in illegally received funds from the detainees.
Meanwhile, however, the Saudi Sovereign Wealth Fund acquired a minority stake to the tune of 16.8 percent in Prince Alwaleed’s Kingdom Holding. That acquisition took place in May, well after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The investments are one more piece of evidence that Saudi Arabia continues to forge ever-closer ties with Russia amid its standoff with the Wet over Ukraine. The Kingdom Holding investment comes as Western companies exit Russia in droves, suffering often hefty losses and freeing up space for other investors.
The Saudis and the Russians also remain in agreement on OPEC+ policies after the extended cartel decided without any arguments and disagreements to raise production by 100,000 bpd in September.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com