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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 14 December 2018

Saudi establishes units specialising in anti-corruption

The office was established as part of the country's efforts to promote transparency in the Kingdom

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrives for talks at 10 Downing Street, in central London on March 7, 2018. Tolga Akmen / AFP
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrives for talks at 10 Downing Street, in central London on March 7, 2018. Tolga Akmen / AFP

King Salman of Saudi has ordered specialised anti-corruption units to be established in the public prosecutor's office, the government said on Sunday, several weeks after a sweeping anti-graft purge of the kingdom's elite.

The cases are expected to be referred directly to Attorney General Sheikh Saud Al Mojeb.

Prior to the King's approval, cases of corruption were dealt with by the Public Employment Crimes Department.

According to the attorney general, the establishment of these departments was prompted by King Salman's wish to combat corruption and protect the country and its public.

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Sheikh Al Mojeb also said in a statement that King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman have expressed their determination to combat corruption in a transparent way.

The announcement follows last year's establishment of a "supreme committee" by King Salman, to investigate public corruption.

The committee, led by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, was tasked with identifying "offences, crimes, persons and entities involved in cases of public corruption".

The establishment of the committee led to a sweeping crackdown. 208 high-ranking royals, former ministers and businessmen in what was presented to the public as a corruption purge.

208 high-ranking royals, officials and businessmen were detained and accused of corruption.

Along with allegations of bribery and extortion, the accusations against the senior figures include money laundering and taking advantage of their high-ranking positions for personal gain.

All have been released from being held in the Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh after paying settlements amounting to $107 billion.

Authorities said the anti-corruption campaign is aimed at improving Saudi Arabia’s business environment and that the sums recovered will be used to fund an assistance programme for middle and lower-income citizens.