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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 13 December 2018

Saudi Arabia releases 23 corruption detainees

More will be released in the coming days

Saudi Arabia launched an unprecedented anti-corruption drive in November, rounding up hundreds of suspects who were detained in the Ritz Carlton. Giuseppe Cacace / AFP
Saudi Arabia launched an unprecedented anti-corruption drive in November, rounding up hundreds of suspects who were detained in the Ritz Carlton. Giuseppe Cacace / AFP

Saudi Arabia has in the past two days released 23 of the more than 200 royals, officials and businessmen detained on charges of corruption after they reached deals with the government, Okaz newspaper reported on Tuesday.

It also said that more detainees will be released in the coming days, while the rest who continue to deny charges against them will soon face trial.

“The government wants to close this file case as soon as possible,” a source told the daily.

The report did not name those who were released. They were detained in November in an anti-corruption crackdown led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The suspects have been held at the Ritz Carlton and other five-star hotels in Riyadh.

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More than 200 people have been questioned during investigations into corruption cases, and more than 2,000 bank accounts frozen.

Although some suspects will go on trial, the authorities in Saudi Arabia are seeking to reach financial settlement with most of them, whereby those who do not contest the charges pay back a portion of the assets that were illegally acquired.

Saudi Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, who was seen as a leading contender for the throne, was freed after reportedly agreeing to pay more than $1 billion (Dh3.67bn).

Saudi attorney-general Sheikh Saudi Al Mojeb said the arrests were the culmination of three years’ work by a special committee to combat corruption.