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Riyadh says most corruption detainees have agreed to settle

06 December 2017

Saudi Arabia's attorney general said talks to reach settlement agreements with suspects detained in the kingdom's declared crackdown on graft should conclude in a few weeks.

Meanwhile, the Federal Office for Justice said that Saudi Arabia had not asked for legal help in investigating 19 prominent figures linked to corruption allegations.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched the unprecedented purge a month ago, arresting high-level princes, businessmen, officials and military officers.

More than 200 people were being questioned at one point, and there are still 159 in detention, according to the statement.

Prince Miteb was reportedly held at the five-star Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh along with his brother Prince Turki bin Abdullah, a former governor of Riyadh province; the billionaire investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal; Alwalid al-Ibrahim, owner of the TV network MBC; Amr al-Dabbagh, former head of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority; and Khalid al-Tuwaijri, former chief of the Royal Court.

His latest statement comes after Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, the former National Guard chief once seen as a contender to the throne, was released last week following a settlement reportedly exceeding United States dollars 1 billion. The hotel is "fully booked" until February 13, 2018.

The attorney general has previously said he estimates; at least Dollars 100 billion has been lost in embezzlement or corruption over several decades.

The statement said that although the bank accounts of 376 individuals have been frozen, all assets or corporate entities of those detained, and the rights of any other parties related to such assets or corporate entities, shall not be affected or disrupted.

But Saudi authorities insist the purge was meant exclusively to target endemic corruption as the kingdom seeks to diversify its oil-dependent economy.