Saudi Government Decides to Seize Over $100 Billion in Corruption Purge

Saudi Government Decides to Seize Over $100 Billion in Corruption Purge”

On Tuesday morning the attorney general, Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb, announced the end of the three-month probe that sensationally ensnared some of the kingdom's best-known figures who were alleged to have siphoned off billions from state revenues.

Saudi Arabia's government has arranged to seize over $100 billion U.S. in financial settlements with businessmen and officials detained in its crackdown on corruption, the attorney general said Tuesday.

Some cases have been referred to the public prosecutor, who ordered the release of any remaining detainees against whom there was not sufficient evidence, as well as those who admitted guilt and agreed to settlements with the government, according to the statement.

In November, the authorities launched an unprecedented anti-graft swoop that netted hundreds of members of the extended royal family, top businessmen and officials.

The huge sum - 400 billion Saudi rials ($106.67-bn) - will be a financial boost for the government, which has seen its finances strained in recent years by low oil prices.

The attorney general said 56 people remain in custody.

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The estimated value of settlements stands at more than 106 billion US dollars in various types of assets, including real estate, commercial entities, securities and cash.

The anti-corruption drive was led by Mohammed bin Salman, the 32-year-old crown prince and author of the "Vision 2030" programme of social and economic reforms.

Those still in custody have not reached settlements "due to other pending criminal cases, or in order to continue the investigation process", Mojeb said, as quoted by AP.

The man dubbed the Warren Buffett of Saudi Arabia was released on Saturday after striking an undisclosed financial agreement with the authorities.

The people arrested included big names like Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who is one of the richest men on the planet with stakes in western media as well as in western companies like Citigroup, Apple, 21st century Fox, Twitter and many other well-known companies.

Those held were detained at the luxury Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh.

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