Published: Fri, February 02, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Saudi Arabia Says It Has Seized Over $100 Billion In Corruption Purge

Saudi Arabia Says It Has Seized Over $100 Billion In Corruption Purge

Others freed from detention include the son of late King Abdullah, Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, whom sources say handed over more than $1 billion in assets and state minister Ibrahim al-Assaf, who was reportedly cleared of any wrongdoing.

News broke earlier on Tuesday that Saudi authorities had released all remaining detainees from Riyadh's Ritz-Carlton Hotel, which had been used as an interrogation center in a crackdown on corruption, according to a Saudi official. But the statement released on Tuesday said the government had claimed about 400 billion Saudi riyals, or US$106.6 billion, so far.

"Negotiation and settlement with many has been concluded and cases have been transferred to the Public Prosecution Office to complete the relevant procedures", the statement said.

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Saudi Arabia, which pumps 10 million barrels of oil per day, has posted budget deficits totaling $260 billion over the past four years, and projects a shortfall of $52 billion this year.

The officials said all of the men, who included billionaire global investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, had agreed to financial settlements after admitting to unspecified "violations". That suggested the government may not have gained large sums of cash to spend.

True to their style, Saudi authorities kept details of the financial agreement with Prince Alwaleed under wraps, as they did with the settlements reached with other businessmen. The conditions of his freedom remain unclear, and the country's ministry of information said it would not comment on his situation.

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But Prince Mohammed appears to have won widespread approval for the purge among ordinary Saudis, partly because the government has said it will use some of the money it seizes to fund social benefits. The report confirmed that 381 individuals had been subpoenaed as part of the investigation, but "a significant number" of them were called in to testify or provide evidence.

"There are many different ways to fight corruption and not all of them are effective".

"Saudi's approach stands a better chance of being effective as it's more direct".

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