A stretch in confinement is never fun. Whether it is a chain gang or breaking “big stones into little stones,” time in jail can be endless. . . . unless you are a Saudi prince or official. After a surprising crackdown on corruption and the arrest of princes and senior officials, the accused were ordered to be held in home confinement at the ultra-luxury Ritz Carlton in Riyadh. The accused will be guaranteed “three squares a day” on a prison menu at various top restaurants that includes “Squid ink, mixed pan-seared seafood” and “Ossobuco alla Milanese, saffron risotto, and pecorino foam” at hundreds of dollars a pop. While there is no prison yard with a weight set, there is the spa with the “Royal Groom of Arabia treatment.”
Among the wretched accused in the Ritz stir, is royal billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal who has extensive holdings in Western companies and his Kingdom Holding Co.. He and others are accused of money laundering, bribery, and corruption. Recently Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman delighted civil libertarians with a speech that he would seek to remove extremist religious elements from the kingdom. He now appears to be keeping his word on ending corruption. These are remarkably promising signs for the Kingdom for those of us who have been long critics.
Of course, the Ritz is not exactly Folsom Prison but the princes will have stories to tell when they get “back to the world.”