Palestinian billionaire arrested in Saudi Arabia amid corruption crackdown

A Palestinian billionaire businessman is embroiled in a Saudi corruption scandal.


Sabih al-Masri, a Palestinian billionaire and chairman of the Jordan-based Arab Bank, was arrested last week during a business trip to Saudi Arabia.

Masri’s family confirmed his arrest to Reuters on Saturday. The billionaire was detained regarding “information related to corruption,” Arab media reported.

Contacts close to Masri said he had been warned not to travel to Saudi Arabia, where a sweeping government crackdown on corruption was launched in November.

The 80-year-old Palestinian tycoon, a dual Saudi-Jordanian citizen, is one of Amman’s most influential business figures.

Masri abruptly cancelled a dinner with leading Saudi businessmen and friends on Dec. 12 and “has been answering questions about his business and partners,” according to Reuters.

Reports of Masri’s arrest sent tremors through Jordan, where the businessman has several billion dollars invested in the economy. Masri was elected chairman of Arab Bank in 2012. The Masri family is among the wealthiest Palestinian families, with major holdings in real estate, luxury hotels and telecommunications companies.