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

The kingdom is reportedly demanding assets in exchange for the freedom of individuals arrested under a corruption investigation



Saudi investigators estimate they can recover up to $100bn from settlements linked to an anti-corruption crackdown that began two weeks ago, according to reports.

Bloomberg cited a senior official as confirming the kingdom could recover between $50bn and $100bn amid wider reports that it was offering arrested businessmen, royals and ministers the option to exchange assets for their freedom.

Read: Saudi demands cash for freedom in corruption probe

The business news service said those arrested are being given the option to handover assets to avoid a trial.

Any payments are based on the amounts authorities believe the individual obtained illegally, according to the publication, and not their entire wealth.

The Financial Times previously reported that the government was demanding up to 70 per cent of some individual’s wealth for their release from detention at plush hotels across Saudi Arabia including Riyadh’s Ritz Carlton.

Read: Princes, businessmen detained in Saudi corruption probe are sleeping on the floor – report

Saudi Arabia’s attorney general indicated in the days after the corruption purge began that 208 people had been arrested and seven had been released without charge.

Sheikh Saud Al Mojeb said at least $100bn of funds had been misused through “systematic corruption and embezzlement over several decades”.

Among those detained is one of the region’s richest businessmen, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who’s net worth through Saudi-listed Kingdom Holding has plunged $2bn to $16.4bn since his arrest became known, according to Forbes.

Others 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.

Bloomberg cited the official as confirming 14 retired offers at the Ministry of Defence of and two retired National Guard officers had been detained on suspicion of being involved in corrupt financial contracts.

More than 1,700 bank accounts have been frozen as investigations continue, including those of Saudi citizens in the UAE.

Read: UAE asks banks for information on accounts of 19 Saudis, including Alwaleed

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.