For those unaware of the situation, here are some links:
Messerly, Megan. 'UC Berkeley Professor Critiques Saudi University's Recruitment Process Of World's Top Researchers'. The Daily Californian. Last modified 2014. Accessed March 16, 2015.
Yahia, Mohammed. 'Are Saudi Universities Buying Their Way Into Top Charts? : House Of Wisdom'. Blogs.Nature.Com. Last modified 2012. Accessed March 16, 2015.
KAU is asking people to claim KAU affiliations on papers where no collaboration exists, thus boosting KAU's metrics in the easily-fooled US News university rankings. The existence of ancillary benefits, such as collaboration with local KAU researchers, seem to have been somewhat debunked by now, but this was not clear before. (There are some such benefits, but largely they fail to materialize.)
$72k per year is a lot of money, and there are some very accomplished people who have accepted this association. In a situation not too different from the one I am in now, I could easily see myself selling this part of my reputation for $72k. By no means can I stand above this deal on moral grounds.
Is it ethical to accept this kind of offer? What is the impact on prestige and reputation of the researchers who have accepted this offer, now that its primary motive of citation-gaming is unambiguous?