Saudi receives first payments from detained businessmen, royals

The kingdom has reportedly demanded cash in exchange for the dropping of corruption charges



Businessman, officials and royals held as part of Saudi Arabia’s corruption probe are already starting to make payments to settle cases, according to reports.

Bloomberg cited sources as confirming some of the accused are already signing documents and transferring funds from their personal accounts to government-controlled ones.

The payments come less than a month after the anti-corruption drive began. At least 208 people have been arrested.

The publication previously reported that officials expected to recover $50bn to $100bn from those detained at plush hotels across the kingdom including the Ritz Carlton in Riyadh.

This followed a Financial Times report the previous week that he government was demanding up to 70 per cent of some individual’s wealth for their release.

Among those being held is one of the region’s richest businessmen Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. Other prominent faces include minister of the national guard Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, Al Tayyar Travel board member Nasser bin Aqeel al-Tayyar, Middle East Broadcasting Centre founder Waleed al-Ibrahim and Saudi Binladin Group chairman Bakr bin Laden.

Read: Saudi expects to recover up to $100bn from corruption settlements

Saudi Arabia’s attorney general Sheikh Saud Al Mojeb said in the days after the purge began that at least $100bn of funds had been misused through “systematic corruption and embezzlement over several decades”.

More than 1,700 bank accounts have been frozen as investigations continue.

The crackdown, led by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, has shaken international investors and seen some Saudis move assets outside of the Gulf Cooperation Council to avoid having them frozen.

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