This image is illustrative only
Saudi Arabia has detained more people for questioning and asked banks to freeze new accounts nearly seven weeks after its corruption crackdown started, according to reports.
Earlier this month, the kingdom’s public prosecutor said 320 people had been subpoenaed to provide information about alleged graft while 159 remained in detention and “a number” of them had been referred for judicial action.
Bloomberg cited sources as confirming authorities are arresting new suspects and releasing some of those held in a sign the crackdown is not close to ending. One recent arrest was Palestinian billionaire Sabih al Masri, who was released a few days later.
The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority is also instructing banks to freeze the accounts of individuals who aren’t under arrest and people linked to them, according to the report.
Authorities are hoping to collect $100bn in settlements from the businessmen, royals and former ministers it has accused, with plans to use the funds for government projects and sevices.
Bloomberg previously reported that the assets involved were so large the kingdom was setting up a separate unit to manage them.
There have been few details of exact settlements individuals have made with the exception of Prince Miteb bin Abdullah. The former head of the elite National Guard was said to have been freed at the end of November after handing over $1bn.
Attorney general Sheikh Saud Al Mojeb said on December 5 the kingdom hoped to reach agreements with detainees, who include billionaire businessman Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, “within weeks”.