By ABDULLAH AL-SHIHRIAYA BATRAWY, Associated Press
RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA —
Saudi Arabia’s unprecedented anti-corruption sweep that saw top princes, businessmen, military officers and officials detained at the Ritz-Carlton hotel has concluded after netting the government around $106.6 billion, the Royal Court said Wednesday.
The Royal Court said the work of an anti-corruption committee formed to oversee the sweep headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had concluded its work after summoning or questioning 381 people.
The recovered assets from settlements with 87 people include cash, real estate, businesses and securities, according to the Royal Court announcement carried on Saudi state TV.
It said 56 individuals continue to be investigated and that the attorney general refused to settle with them due to other criminal charges they face. Another eight refused to settle and stand accused of corruption.
The sweep, which began the evening of Nov. 4 2017, helped cement the crown prince’s powerful status. Analysts and critics said it was also a way for the prince to sideline potential rivals and consolidate power as he prepares to inherit the throne from his father, King Salman.
Among those held was billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who was detained for more than 80 days at the Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh before his release. Also, held were the sons of the late King Abdullah, including Prince Miteb who’d commanded the National Guard and was once seen as a contender for the throne.
There were also current and former ministers rounded up and billionaire businessmen like Bakr Binladin, chairman of the kingdom’s pre-eminent contractor the Saudi Binladin Group that had secured a near-monopoly on mega-expansion projects in Islam’s two holiest sites, Mecca and Medina, throughout the reigns of successive Saudi monarchs.
Batrawy reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
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