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Saudi purge brings China card in play in Aramco deal

A deal with the world's largest importer could be tempting for Riyadh

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince (then-deputy crown prince) Mohammed bin Salman, left, meets Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing in August 2016.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Plans to list shares of Saudi Aramco, the world's biggest oil producer, have taken a new twist in recent weeks with talks of selling shares directly to China or other institutional investors first -- rather than going to the stock exchange -- emerging as a potential option.

Adding to the uncertainty is the anti-corruption crackdown being carried out by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in which a number of influential princes and senior officials have been implicated, including an Aramco board member who has been arrested.

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