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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 September 2018

Saudi anti-corruption sweep will reach low-level cases: official

Following the round-up of princes, top officials and businessmen last November, the focus is working its way downwards

Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal of Kingdom Holdings. The company has sold over 20 assets in emerging markets since 2010. Guy Martin/Bloomberg
Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal of Kingdom Holdings. The company has sold over 20 assets in emerging markets since 2010. Guy Martin/Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor said on Tuesday that the government campaign against corruption, which targeted the business and political elite last year, would work its way through lower-level offences.

“The campaign is ongoing as long as there is even a simple case [of corruption] ... and it will not end until [all] corruption cases are finished,” prosecutor Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb told state television in a clip posted online, without providing details.

Authorities rounded up dozens of princes, top officials and businessmen in November on Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s orders, with many confined and interrogated at Riyadh’s opulent Ritz-Carlton Hotel.

Most detainees, including global investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, were released after being exonerated or reaching financial settlements with the government, which says it arranged to seize more than $100 billion through such deals.

The Ritz was cleared out and reopened to the public in February, though 56 people who had not reached settlements by then remained in custody and could face trial.

Prince Mohammed is currently touring the United States to promote investment in the kingdom, touting the corruption sweep as critical to transforming an oil-dependent economy long plagued by graft but now contending with lower global crude prices.

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