Middle East Observer Obtains Exclusive Documents Revealing the Growing Wealth of Turki Al-Dakhil
Following the death of the late King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia on 23 January 2015, his brother Salman, who took to the throne, appointed his own young son Muhammad as defence minister and named him as secretary general of the Royal Court. Less than three months later, in April 2015, King Salman appointed his nephew Muhammad bin Nayif as Crown Prince and his son Prince Muhammad as deputy crown prince.
The King started his reign with a series of measures aimed at removing from the Royal Court individuals suspected of conspiring with the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Zayid against him prior to his brother’s death. Yet, his son Salman soon embarked on a path of rapprochement with the Emiratis. The man who is said to play a crucial role in this process is Turki Al-Dakhil, the young general manager of Al-Arabiya news channel, a very close associate of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Zayid.
Speaking when he was Chairman of the Emirati Misbar Studies and Research Centre, Al-Dakhil talked about his close relationship with the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Muhammad bin Zayid al-Nahyan. He said: “I do not work as an advisor to him [Muhammad bin Zayid] but I have good relations with him.” In an interview in January 2014 with the Dubai-based DMTV channel, Al-Dakhil added: “The grace of his virtue is above all. The most important and most widespread of all graces are those he bestows upon me. So anything he asks of me […] yet, I do not have a job as an advisor to him.”
According to informed sources that spoke to the Middle East Observer on condition of anonymity, the role played by Al-Dakhil, or
the role expected of him, led to his rapid promotion. On January 31, 2015, MBC Group’s Chairman Sheikh Waleed Al-Ibrahim announced the appointment of Turki Al-Dakhil as the new General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel.
Writing for The Washington Institute, Simon Henderson revealed that Al-Dakhil has become the closest and most trusted adviser of Muhammad bin Salman. It has also been reported that Al-Dakhil now accompanies the Prince in most, if not all, of his trips abroad.
Recently, Al-Dakhil was granted an exclusive interview with Muhammad bin Salman. What was special about this first such media appearance is that Bin Salman was announcing his so-called 2030 vision for the Kingdom with an austerity plan at its core.
The interview shed light on a hitherto unknown aspect of the burgeoning relationship between the two men. Here is an excerpt:
Turki Al-Dakhil: No, I am not with you. You have your own category. I am one of the people who expect to receive subsidies.
Prince Muhammad: Do not let me say on television what you have, Turki! But we do not deserve subsidies… The people who deserve and need subsidies are those who are on average incomes and less.
It is ironic that while the interview was intended to announce Bin Salman’s austerity measures, it aroused viewers’ curiosity regarding the financial status of Al-Dakhil.
Middle East Observer has obtained documents that reveal the rapid transformation in Al-Dakhil’s fortunes since King Salman came to power in January 2015.
The first document is an investment portfolio in Alistithmar Capital dated 15 February 2015. According to this statement the value of Al-Dakhil’s investment stood at around 8.4 million Saudi Riyals (About $2.24 million). The second document is another investment portfolio in Alistithmar Capital dated 13 August 2015, showing Al-Dakhil’s value of investment to have risen to nearly 94 million Saudi Riyals ($25 million), more than 11 times what it was only six months earlier. It is inconceivable that a journalist like Al-Dakhil can generate such a wealth within so brief a period of time.
During that same period, Al-Dakhil purchased a property in Dubai Marina for 17 million UAE Dirhams ($4.6 million). This is clearly stated in the following document, which gives the date of the purchase as 21 June 2015.
Middle East Observer was also able to obtain documents going back to 2012 and 2014 that link Al-Dakhil to Abu Dhabi’s Muhammad Bin Zayid, who apparently was grooming the young journalist for the upcoming role. According to the first document, Bin Zayid transferred the sum of about 1.1 million UAE Dirhams ($316,000) to Al-Dakhil’s personal bank account on 22 October 2012.
This was followed, as shown in the following document, with the transfer in July 2014 of the sum of $633,333.33 to the same account.
To add to his riches, Al-Dakhil, as shown by the following documents purchased two properties in a project called River Light that is still under construction in London. The first property is flat A57, valued at £1,655,000.00 and the other is flat A58, valued at £1,475,000.
The translation of the above document does as follows:
Mr. Ahmad Al-Shaalan
Upon the instructions of Mr. Turki Al-Dakheel please find hereby attached information about the Riverlight project in which Mr. Turki has purchased two apartments in section A. They are A57 and A58.
– the price of A57 is £1,655,000
– the price of A58 is £1,475,000
Muntasir Noureldin (Msc. SHRM
It would seem that as Saudi nationals are told the country’s economy is in crisis and that they need to tighten their belts, the likes of Turki Al-Dakhil continue to enjoy a lavish life style and to accumulate wealth thanks to the favours bestowed upon them by Bin Salman.
Not only that, the deputy Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, whose 2030 vision is principally about cutting spending and tightening belts, was not able to resist the temptation and deny himself the pleasure of a buying a boat he once saw while taking a stroll.
According to the New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/16/world/rise-of-saudi-prince-shatters-decades-of-royal-tradition.html?_r=0, Prince Muhammad bin Salman spotted The Serene, a 440-foot yacht while vacationing last year. He dispatched an aide to buy it; the deal was done within hours, at a price of about 500 million euros (roughly $550 million).
While the war in Yemen is a major contributor, together with the slump in oil prices, to the decline in Saudi fortunes many Saudis responded to the 2030 vision and the austerity plan with satire. They cannot be blamed for not taking the vision or the plan seriously seeing how the Saudi Royal family members and their entourage are behaving.