Dine with Ivanka; Waltz with Salman!


Ivanka Trump may have charmed India and given us a glimpse of elegance in black and white. But the person whom the BJP should be watching for the real lessons in how to make black all white is Salman...

Not Salman, The Khan - but Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia.

On November 4th, within hours of the formation of an anti-corruption committee headed by the Crown Prince, a number of Saudi members of the royal family and leading businessmen were arrested and made to check in to the Ritz Carlton hotel as "guests".

The 1,700 bank accounts and assets of the over 200 individuals under detention - estimated to be USD 800 billion in value - are frozen.

Over the past few weeks, negotiations have been going on inside the Ritz Carlton for the release of the powerful who are under luxurious detention - reportedly as guests of the Saudi government.

The rich royals and the royally rich can have their cake at the Ritz, but the Saudi government wants its slice.

On November 17th, the Financial Times reported that the Crown Prince was willing to release the over 200 detained individuals if they handed over 70% of their wealth to the Treasury. That adds up to a cool USD 560 billion. This is about 2x the size of India's total government expenditure every year that is outlined in the annual budget.

The Saudi coffers have been under strain due to low oil prices and the increasing cost of subsidizing the development of the local economy and fighting wars in the region. Saudi Arabia's budget deficit for 2016 was USD 79 billion - about 15% of GDP.

The low price of oil and the continuing spend on arms and other imports has also seen the foreign exchange reserves decline from USD 750 billion in 2015 to less than USD 500 billion.

Moody's may find it difficult to give any sort of credit rating upgrade.

Clearly, some money from those who have allegedly fed off their family or royal connections will help restore the tax revenue that is so badly needed and the depleting foreign exchange reserves.

On November 29th news reports suggest that Crown Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, once a potential successor to the throne before Crown Prince Salman assumed power, agreed to pay an "acceptable settlement agreement" of reportedly USD 1 billion and was allowed to check out of the Ritz Carlton.

It is unclear whether the USD 1 billion includes his cost for the hotel stay for the past 25 nights.

But the point is, if you really want to make India a black and white nation - to match the black and white of Ivanka's dress during her 2 km walk in the Golconda Fort - Crown Prince Salman has offered India a template.

There really is no need to have hundreds of millions of poor people stand in line to change notes to convert black to white; or to have a chorus of ministers and clap-men ready to tweet the herald of a new dawn within seconds of a quarterly GDP number being released; or to delay the winter session of Parliament so that the entire cabinet can campaign for a state election.

That all sounds so lame. So phony. So unnecessary.

Just do what Ivanka's father said he would and what Salman did: Lock Them Up.

And then ask for the money to let them out.

70% sounds fair - it seems to be working in Saudi Arabia.

With 96% of the 12-month estimated budget deficit breached in 7 months, the Indian government needs money.

Oh, yes: and make sure the hotel guests pay the GST on the hotel bills on the way out.

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Disclaimer: The Honest Truth is authored by Ajit Dayal. Ajit is Founder of Quantum Advisors Pvt. Ltd. which is the Sponsor of Quantum Asset Management Company Pvt. Ltd – the Investment Manager of the Quantum Mutual Funds. Ajit is also the Founder of Quantum Information Services which owns Equitymaster and PersonalFN. The views mentioned herein are that of the author only and not of Quantum Advisors, Quantum AMC or Equitymaster. The information provided herein is compiled on the basis of publicly available information, internally developed data and other sources believed to be reliable by the author. The information is meant for general reading purpose only and is not meant to serve as a professional guide / investment advice for the readers. Readers are advised to seek independent professional advice and arrive at an informed investment decision before making any investment. Whilst no specific action has been suggested or offered based upon the information provided herein, due care has been taken to endeavour that the facts are correct, accurate and reasonable as on date. None of the Author, Quantum Advisors, Quantum AMC, Equitymaster, their Affiliates or Representative shall be liable for any direct, indirect, special, incidental, consequential, punitive or exemplary losses or damages including lost profits arising in any way on account of any action taken basis the data / information / views provided in The Honest Truth.

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12 Responses to "Dine with Ivanka; Waltz with Salman!"


Dec 5, 2017

Yes We will start in true democracy way by setting up a ministry for corruption and bring CBI and all under it.

Like (7)


Dec 4, 2017

What you can do in Saudi cannot be done in India,, the cacophony will start immediately. ad you will be in the 1st row to sing... "death of democrazy"
Good you have not entered politics

Like (14)

Sudesh Pratap

Dec 3, 2017

C'ummon Mr Dayal ! I always thought that you had a fair knowledge about political systems (system of governance) in various countries. Comparing India (Democracy) with Saudi Arabia (Kingdom) or for that matter China (Comunist/Socialist) is like comparing apples and oranges.

Like (10)


Dec 3, 2017

It is more said than done. The curse of this country is DeMoCRAZY. You cant be a dictator like Salman or Trump not be totally free. Being stuck in between not able to meet every caste/religion/region/state/party/language needs in this country is impossible.

Like (15)

Joy Paul Puthussery

Dec 3, 2017

Instead of talking and talking of exposing black money, the govt must initiate action to unearth it. We know where the black money lies, not with the ordinary and poor people who have been the ultimate sufferers of demonetisation, but with the rich and powerful corporate tycoons. Let them be arrested and kept under bars till they return the money looted from Indian banks and people and kept in foreign accounts.

Like (4)


Dec 2, 2017

Dear Mr. Dayal,
Very nice article. May I please request you for an 'honest truth' on aadhaar linkage being applied across the board to bank accounts, mobile telephony, mutual funds, demat accounts, etc. ?

Thanking you in advance,

Yours faithfully,

Dinesh. K

Like (8)

ashok bansal

Dec 2, 2017

Very revolutionary thought and one which appeals to the heart, just like hanging the rapists publicly. Problem is,you can do neither.

Like (6)


Dec 2, 2017

This column is so lame ... I can't make anything out of it !

Only thing that comes out loud and clear is Ajit Dayal's consuming hatred of the present government.

Like (8)

B A Khan

Dec 1, 2017

Very daring and informative report.

Like (7)

M R Kamath

Dec 1, 2017

India is a democratic country with powerful courts which pulls up GoI on petty issues...do you really believe Modi can get away with what Saudi Prince did? In less than 24 hours all would be out with severe censure of Modi by SC.

Like (10)
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