The vast majority of about 200 Saudi businessmen and officials implicated in corruption by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman are agreeing to settlements under which they hand over assets to the government.
“We show them all the files that we have and as soon as they see those about 95 percent agree to a settlement,” meaning signing over cash or shares in their companies to the Saudi Treasury. “About 1 percent are able to prove they are clean and their case is dropped right there. About 4 percent say they are not corrupt and with their lawyers want to go to court,” the Crown Prince said.
Prince Mohammed repeated a previous official estimate that the government could eventually recover around $100 billion of illicit money through settlements.
He dismissed suggestions that the crackdown aimed to strengthen his political power as ludicrous, noting that prominent people held at the Ritz had already publicly pledged allegiance to him and his reforms. “A majority of the royal family” is behind him, Prince Mohammed said.
Saudi Arabia’s government crackdown on its most powerful and richest men led by the Crown Prince has implicated three of the country’s richest people, including Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the kingdom’s second- and fifth-wealthiest people, as well as a travel-agency mogul and Bakr bin Laden, Osama bin Laden’s brother and a scion of a one of the country’s biggest construction empires.
According to Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman, the arrests are part of a fight against corruption. The government reportedly froze the accounts of the more than three dozen men detained. The detained are believed to be held at the Riyadh Ritz-Carlton.