Saudi Arabia Set to Recover more than $100-B in Corruption Settlements
The Kingdom is expecting to beat its settlement target from detainees charged with corruption
Saudi authorities leading the Kingdom’s corruption investigation will likely recover more than $100-B in settlements from detained Royals, businessmen and government officials, according to a recent report.
The Kingdom’s AG (attorney general) Sheikh Saud Al Mojeb said investigators were on track to beat their $100-B target as talks wrap up towards the end of the month.
So far charges have been dropped against around 90 suspects and about 95 others are still being detained at the Ritz Carlton hotel in Riyadh, including 5 that are weighing settlement proposals, he said.
The remainder are still reviewing evidence presented against them.
Around 350 people have been summoned for questioning since the anti-corruption purge began on 4 November 2017, although some were invited as witnesses or to provide information rather than answer to charges.
Among the more high profile releases in recent months was the former head of the elite National Guard Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, who was reported to have been freed after handing over $1bn.
Last week, Saudi British Bank Vice Chairman Khalid Bin Abdullah al-Mulhem was also said to have been released, while others negotiating potential settlements include Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed and Saudi Binladin Group Chairman Bakr Bin Laden along with several of his Family members.
AG Al Mojeb refused to discuss individual cases, defending the investigation against criticisms of a lack of transparency.
“We are in a new era,” he said. “Corruption will be eradicated. The campaign against corruption won’t stop.”
The official said settlement payments being processed were a combination of cash, real estate, stocks and other assets classes.
He expected only a handful of those still detained at the hotel to reach an agreement with authorities.
Crown Prince Mohammed is the architect of a plan to prepare the Saudi economy, which has historically relied on oil revenue and government spending, for the post-hydrocarbon era.
The blueprint includes selling a minority stake in Crude oil giant Saudi Aramco this year, slashing government subsidies to balance the budget and create enough jobs for Saudi nationals.
Reports last week suggested the Ritz Carlton was preparing to reopen for bookings on 14 February after being used as a luxury detention center since the corruption purge began.
The detainees have access to all of the hotel’s facilities, including a gym, spa and bowling alley, and a restaurant serving several different kinds of cuisine.
AG Al Mojeb said suspects had access to legal council while being in detention at the hotel, some chose to settle voluntarily.
Once released they face no movement restrictions he said.
“Those who express remorse and agree to settle will have any criminal proceedings against them dropped,” he indicated.