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Saudi anti-corruption sweep to target low-level offences

Saudi anti-corruption sweep to target low-level offences

The purge has largely targeted high-level businessman, royals and government officials to date

Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor said on Tuesday that the government campaign against corruption, which targeted the business and political elite last year, would work its way through lower-level offences.

“The campaign is ongoing as long as there is even a simple case (of corruption) … and it will not end until (all) corruption cases are finished,” prosecutor Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb told state television in a clip posted online, without providing details.

Authorities rounded up dozens of princes, top officials and businessmen in November on Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s orders, with many confined and interrogated at Riyadh’s opulent Ritz-Carlton Hotel.

Read: Saudi’s King Salman orders creation of departments to combat corruption

Most detainees, including global investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, were released after being exonerated or reaching financial settlements with the government, which says it arranged to seize more than $100bn through such deals.

Read: Saudi’s Alwaleed denies torture, confirms government deal after detention

The Ritz was cleared out and reopened to the public in February, though 56 people who had not reached settlements by then remained in custody and could face trial.

Prince Mohammed is currently touring the United States to promote investment in the kingdom, touting the corruption sweep as critical to transforming an oil-dependent economy long plagued by graft but now contending with lower global crude prices.

Read: Saudi crown prince visits Branson’s Virgin Galactic, introduced to hyperloop

Yet the campaign remains shrouded in secrecy with few specific allegations or details of financial settlements revealed.

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