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REUTERS
January 25, 2018

‘S Arabia still holding 95 people’

World

REUTERS
January 25, 2018

RIYADH: Saudi Arabian authorities are still holding 95 people in an anti-corruption campaign launched by the crown prince in November, according to the kingdom’s attorney general.

In an info graphic cited by Saudi-owned Al Arabiya on Wednesday, the attorney general said 90 detainees had been released after having their charges dropped while others had traded cash, real estate and other assets for their freedom.

"Only a couple of days till cases of corruption-related settlements are closed in preparation for referring remaining defendants to the Public Prosecution," the graphic said. Saudi security forces have rounded up members of the political and business elite, including princes and tycoons, holding them in Riyadh’s opulent Ritz Carlton hotel in what was billed as a war on rampant corruption.

The purge has caused concern about damage to the economy especially among foreign investors the kingdom is seeking to attract to develop its economy away from oil. But the government has insisted it is respecting due process and that the companies of detained businessmen will continue operating normally.

The allegations, which could not be verified, include kickbacks, inflating government contracts, extortion and bribery. The Ritz is expected to reopen for business next month, and official sources have told Reuters that the authorities were close to winding up a major part of the crackdown. Riyadh hopes to recover about $100 billion of illicit funds and expects a small number to be prosecuted.

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