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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 17 July 2018

Riyadh's Ritz-Carlton hotel reopens after graft crackdown

The luxury hotel had been closed for business since a corruption probe was launched on November 4 by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

The gates of the Ritz-Carlton hotel are seen open in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on February 11, 2018. Faisal Al Nasser / Reuters
The gates of the Ritz-Carlton hotel are seen open in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on February 11, 2018. Faisal Al Nasser / Reuters

Riyadh's Ritz-Carlton reopened for business on Sunday, three months after it became a holding place for princes and ministers detained in the biggest anti-graft purge of the kingdom's elite in its modern history.

The luxury hotel had been closed for business since the probe was launched on November 4 by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who was appointed heir to the throne last June.

A hotel receptionist reached by phone confirmed that the hotel was open to the public. Another source inside the hotel said the property had no detainees.

Many of the high-profile suspects, including billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal — dubbed the Warren Buffett of Saudi Arabia — have been released in recent weeks after reaching financial settlements with the authorities.

Attorney General Sheikh Saud Al Mojeb said in late January that after completing inquiries into 381 high-profile corruption suspects, he would keep 56 in custody and free the rest. It was unclear if the remaining suspects had been moved to another facility.

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Letters to the Editor: Mohammed bin Salman is leading a noble fight against corruption

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Total settlements with the suspects had topped $107 billion in various forms of assets handed over that included property, securities and cash, he said.

Another high-profile detainee, former National Guard chief Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, was released following an undisclosed settlement.

Prince Mohammed, the 32-year-old son of the king, has spearheaded the crackdown on corruption among members of the government and royal family over the past three months.

Prince Mohammed's campaign targeted endemic corruption as the country prepares for a post-oil era.

The five-star hotel, originally built to house guests of the royal family, boasts majestic suites and pastel-hued hallways awash with bronze statues and glittering chandeliers.

The hotel's executive chef has created a new menu this week for its restaurants, with a "grand buffet" planned next weekend around its large indoor swimming pool, the local Arab News daily reported.