Saudi Arabia has so far detained 201 people, including prominent billionaire investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and dozens of current and former ministers, in corruption probe in the country. According to CNN, corrupt practices by Saudi royals and officials have cost Saudi Arabia at least $100 billion over decades.
Saudi Arabia’s attorney general, Sheikh Saud Al Mojeb, gave the estimate of the losses in a statement and informed that 208 individuals have been questioned as part of an extensive investigation. He also mentioned that out of the 208 persons detained, seven of them have been released without charge.
“Based on our investigations over the past three years, we estimate that at least $100 billion has been misused through systematic corruption and embezzlement over several decades,” CNN quoted the kingdom’s top legal official as saying. “The evidence for this wrongdoing is very strong, and confirms the original suspicions which led the Saudi Arabian authorities to begin the investigation in the first place,” he added.
Earlier, Saudi authorities had announced to freeze the bank accounts of suspects detained in the corruption probe. The developments come after eleven princes, including prominent billionaire investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and dozens of current and former ministers, were detained in an investigation by an anti-corruption committee in Saudi Arabia on Saturday.
The creation of a powerful new anti-corruption committee by King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, is being headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The committee has announced fresh investigations into the 2009 Jeddah floods and the outbreak of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus, which emerged in Saudi Arabia in 2012.
The committee has been given the authority to investigate arrest, ban from travel, disclose and freeze accounts and portfolios, track funds and assets of individuals involved in corruption, said the state-run Saudi Press Agency (SPA). The arrests are being viewed as the latest move to consolidate the power of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the favourite son and top adviser of King Salman.