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Saudi prince made $500 million Russia bet at start of Ukraine war

Published 08/14/2022, 12:02 PM
Updated 08/15/2022, 08:16 AM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A general view shows the headquarters of Gazprom, in Moscow, June 27, 2014. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

By Nayera Abdallah and Hadeel Al Sayegh

(Reuters) -Saudi Arabia's Kingdom Holding Co, the investment firm controlled by billionaire Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, quietly invested more than $500 million in three major Russian energy companies between February and March, regulatory filings showed.

By investing in Gazprom (MCX:GAZP), Rosneft and Lukoil, Kingdom was likely seeking undervalued assets, but its move came as many Western nations imposed sanctions on Russian energy firms and their executives following Russia's invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.

Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states have so far tried to maintain what they say is a neutral position on the war in Ukraine, frustrating some Western officials who have sought to isolate Russia over the invasion.

Kingdom in February invested in global depository receipts of Gazprom and Roseneft worth 1.37 billion riyals ($365 million) and 196 million riyals ($52 million) respectively.

The firm also invested 410 million riyals ($109 million) in Lukoil's U.S. depository receipts between February and March, filings showed on Sunday as part of a lengthy disclosure of recent investments. It gave no reason for any of its specific investments.

Kingdom Holding, which is 16.9% owned by Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund chaired by crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman, had not previously revealed the details of its investments.

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal rose to international prominence after making a big successful bet on Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C) in the 1990s and he was an early investor in Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL).

The prince has also made hundreds of millions of dollars by investing in companies such as Uber Technologies (NYSE:UBER) Inc to Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR)

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Alwaleed's investment style has focused on new opportunities that could be lucrative but carry risk, as well as looking at undervalued assets, a source with knowledge of Kingdom's business said in June.

Saudi Arabia and Russia lead the OPEC+ group, an alliance formed in 2017 between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allied producers.

($1 = 3.7540 riyals)

Latest comments

In the mean time Europe and the US is also close to acquiescing to Iran in their desperation for any oil but Russia’s or even their own.
Unfortunately we are still dependent on the saudi oil, because we have not evolved technologically out of fossil fuel dependency, until then OPEC rules the Oil market. Fussion is the future but we are not there yet  stlill10 years away. Mainwhile whatever Saudi does will be remembered by the world. If they side with Russia i see no reason why Iran should not be allowed to have a chance to sell oil in the world.
When are people going to learn that we will be dependent on oil and gas for decades into the future. US weakness allows everyone else to sell MORE oil except the USA.
We could also be dependent on our own oil until we’ve technologically evolved away from fossil fuel dependency.
The prince picking the wrong side...
Doesn't it mean that Saudis care two hoots (boots?) for Biden's sanctions? American word seems to matter little in the world. No one seems to pay any heed--, not the Chinese,not the Russians, Not India, Not china, NOT SAUDIS, NOT EVEN TALIBAN. What a fall for the "ONLY SUPERPOWER" in the world.
140 nations of the world have formally condemned Russia's illegal and unjustified attack on Ukraine. A handful of repressive regimes ruled by authoritarian thugs are siding with Russia.
Biden is a JOKE!! Time to figure that out!
Time for the Saudis to take responsibility for their action . This does nit include golf
Are you proud of yourselves? Phil Mickelson, Dustin John son, Patrick Reed, Bryson DeChambeau, Sergio Garcia, Brooks Koepka, Louis Oosthuizen, Graeme McDowell, Kevin Na... and the rest of you ******s who gave up competitive golf to join the Saudi golf masquerade.
Might as well be paid to "take the knee" look golf is a royal sport in the first place: you had to have the estate to golf on, the labor to maintain it - and they still have a servant following them around with the sticks.
Are you proud of yourselves? Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Bryson DeChambeau, Sergio Garcia, Brooks Koepka, Louis Oosthuizen, Graeme McDowell, Kevin Na... and the rest of you who gave up competitive golf to join the Saudi golf masquerade.
its a game, with a club and a ball, dont have your head burst over it.
Its not so much about golf as it is about human nature and values, eg that already very wealthy individuals would sell out to a side show financed by a repressive regime for guaranteed millions more rather than compete. They'll get richer and some may finally be able to pay off their gambling debts, but they are no longer respectable athletes, they are monkeys putting on a show.
Meanwhile usa are pumping more oil and gas up from the ground than ever before under biden rule…..sorry you are misinformed, no wonder when you only have 1 tv channel in russia
More evidence of the waning influence the US has thanks to Biden and the Democrats.  He was just in Saudi Arabia groveling for more oil.  The results appear to be OPEC reducing production and now investing in Russia.  Lets also remember how the Democrats have discouraged domestic drilling and pipelines, and sold off strategic reserves, further increasing dependence on OPEC.  Remember, the US had much more influence just a couple years ago when it was energy independent.
Comrade, you have been reminded again and again that the US is energy independent. If I were you, I'd worry more about your lack of virtue than your fear of a successful US.
 search for "mental health clinics near me", while you may think you can't afford it, they will treat you without you needing to pay.   Get well soon!
 I am glad to hear that you have found a place to get mental help for yourself it seems you need it.
The Kingdom has no respect for the Biden Regime because Dementia Joe is joke. Putin is winning and Ukraine is going to be reduced to a rump state. Blinken and Nulan are incompetent small hat wearers that only know how to scam there way into positions of power but couldn't run a taco stand.
Traitor sc. um putin is dying
Oh, so sad. Another authoritarian human rights violator that doesn't respect the US. Big deal.
Funding terrorists should have impacts. There are tradeoffs and risks for any business decision. Time for the Saudi to learn the hard way.
US foreign policy appears to be the immoral idea of supporting your own destroyers.
SA’s actions prove how wonky US foreign policy is. Trading with the enemy (Islamic societies) is the best way to support your own destroyers.
what a nice thank you to the US.   "we need help, protect us from Saddam" - "thanks, now we're going to help Russia".
Oh god, how dare you Saudi Arabia! US angels say Russia so bad so everyone has to hate Russia because the nr.1 ****and world police state does not like another big power. Let all sing hallelujah, US so good...
Keep on worshiping the narrative :)
I think someone needs to live in either Russia or SA. There’s no courage or honor in your characterizations…as there generally is no courage or honor in those who purposely mis-characterize.
It has nothing to do with the US it has something to do will the way Russia acts… and Saudi acts as it is they are little better than some gang. They prefer power and money above all else. But it wont hold in the end and they should not expect people will forget either.
Birds of a feather.
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