Saudi Arabia: Anti-Corruption Drive Generates $106Bn In Settlements

| January 31 , 2018 , 14:39 IST

Saudi Arabia, taking action against corruption by launching a sweeping anti-corruption drive across the nation, was able to generate an estimated $106.7bn (Rs 6.74 lakh crore) in settlements itself, Sheikh Saud Al-Mojeb, the attorney general of Saudi Arabia said.

From a total of 381 people called in for questioning since November 4 in connection with the corruption charges, 56 persons remain in custody for questioning, Al-Mojeb said. Those already questioned were either cleared or admitted guilt and submitted properties, cash, securities and other assets.

Regarding the 56 people still in custody, Al Mojeb said that he had "refused to settle" with them and that they were still being detained "due to other pending criminal cases, or in order to continue the investigation process".

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Although the Attorney General did not mention the names of any of the people that were a part of the drive, reports suggest that princes, ministers and businessmen were also involved.

Billionaire investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and Arab satellite television network MBC owner Alwalid al-Ibrahim were released from detention at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Riyadh recently but claimed they were innocent. Saudi officials, however, say that they agreed to financial settlements after admitting to unspecified 'violations'.

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.

Saudi Arabia Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan last week said that the money recovered int he anti-corruption drive would go towards a $13.3bn programme to help Saudi citizens cope with the rising cost of living.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who became the heir apparent in June, spearheaded the anti-corruption drive which is being touted by analysts as a 'power grab'.