The diary of a Saudi man, currently living in the United Kingdom, where the Religious Police no longer trouble him for the moment.

In Memory of the lives of 15 Makkah Schoolgirls, lost when their school burnt down on Monday, 11th March, 2002. The Religious Police would not allow them to leave the building, nor allow the Firemen to enter.

Friday, May 12, 2006

An Odd Story 

A bit like the previous story of the Saudi lady in Munich Airport, this one from the "Arab News" doesn't seem to make much sense. Is there some deeper, darker motive?

Grifters Deprive Saudi of SR200m

Jeddah police retrieved SR10 million from a gang of African grifters who convinced a man they had magical powers that could turn him into a high-ranking official, Al-Madinah daily reported yesterday.
The superstitious victim, a Saudi man in his 50s, agreed to pay SR210 million. The man had already sent SR200 million to different locations abroad before he started to smell a scam.

He then went to the authorities, who planned a sting operation. One of the grifters was arrested with SR10 million in the boot of a vehicle.

SR200 million is $53 million dollars! So he paid that much out, and was down to his last $2 or 3 million, before he "started to smell a scam"?

He is (or was) obviously mega-rich. But as every Saudi knows, being rich doesn't get you to be a high-ranking official, even if you believe that $53 million is....

..... the charge for performing magic that would make the government issue orders appointing the man to a very high position in the government handling public finances.

In Great Britain, it seems that donating one million pounds sterling to the Labour Party will buy you into the House of Lords. But it doesn't work like that in Saudi Arabia. If you are in the "right" tribe or family, you can progress quite high, irrespective of talent or work ethic. But if you are not, forget it, no amount of money will get you there. Every Saudi knows that.

Instead, if you have that sort of money, there are any number of foreign companies desperate to come into Saudi Arabia, but prevented because of our xenophobic ownership laws. So they are all looking for genuine Saudis with money, who are willing to become Chairman and Owner of The Icelandic Candy Company (Saudi Arabia) or whatever, and a big wheel in the Saudi business world. Every Saudi knows that as well. Especially the ones with at least $50 million in the bank.

I know there is "one born every minute", but this story just doesn't make sense, unless there is some deep purpose behind it that is too subtle for me. "One day you will complehend, Glasshopper...."

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