November 9, 2017 / 5:10 AM / a month ago

UAE asks banks for information on 19 Saudis' accounts: sources

ABU DHABI/DUBAI (Reuters) - The United Arab Emirates central bank has asked banks and finance companies in the UAE to provide information on the accounts of 19 Saudi citizens, banking sources told Reuters on Thursday.

Saudi authorities have previously confirmed that almost all the 19 have been detained in a sweeping corruption investigation. One of those is Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, chairman of international investment firm Kingdom Holding.

The regulators’ request was contained in a circular sent earlier this week and banks have responded, the sources said, adding that the banks had not been asked to freeze the accounts.

Officials at the central bank were not available to comment.

Commercial bankers said they believed UAE authorities were acting at the request of Saudi authorities, but this was not confirmed. Saudi officials have said they will try to recover billions of dollars of illicit assets from dozens of senior businessmen and officials detained in the probe.

Saudi Arabia has mutual legal assistance arrangements with other Gulf Arab countries that help it seek such information in criminal cases.

Reporting by Stanley Carvalho and Tom Arnold; Writing by Andrew Torchia; Editing by Shri Navaratnam

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