The Riyadh riddle and the woes of the Hariri business empire

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A degree of mystery continues to surround what appears to have been a forced sojourn of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri in Saudi Arabia last month, to the backdrop of heightened tensions in the Middle East centred on the Saudi kingdom’s rivalry with Iran. French President Emmanuel Macron played what Hariri has called a “historic” role that secured his departure from Riyadh, but the financial difficulties of the Lebanese politician’s extensive business interests may also be part of the complex plot leading up to the November events. Karl Laske reports.

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While the circumstances of the apparently involuntary fortnight-long stay of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri in Saudi Arabia in November remain unclear, what is certain is that he and his family’s business dealings are under the scrutiny of the Saudi regime, which last month launched a spectacular” anti-corruption” crackdown led by the son of King Salman bin Abdulaziz, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.