Saudi Arabia elite expected to pay $100 Billion to their government after being held captive for months

 

Several prominent businessmen have agreed to financial settlements with Saudi Arabian authorities in the kingdom’s extensive investigation on corruption, an official source told Reuters on Friday.

In early November, dozens of princes, senior officials and top businessmen were held when Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the crackdown on pay-off corruption.

Saudi elite were held when Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the sweep on top-tier business corruption and pay-offs in early November. According to attorney general, 185 have been held captive during the investigation.

Authorities said they aimed to reach $100 billion financial settlements with most suspects who have been held captive since early November. This money would go solely to the Saudi government, who have seen a loss in revenue due to falling oil prices.

The anonymous source, did not reveal the terms of the settlements to Reuters. The accused men could not immediately be reached for comment by news outlets. Suspects were accused of crimes such as money laundering, bribery and extorting officials.

In late November, senior Saudi Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, previously a leading contender to the Saudi throne, was freed after paying authorities a $1 billion plus settlement, according to a Saudi official Reuter said.

Earlier this week, the Saudi attorney general stated authorities were still holding 95 people in the campaign, while 90 detainees had charges dropped and were released, others had traded cash, real estate and other assets for their release from captivity. Some suspects will face trial if they do not settle.

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, top billionaire businessman and chairman/owner of Kingdom Holding, a global investment firm is still being held captive. A Saudi official told Reuters in early January that he was working on a possible settlement but no agreement has been reached yet.

Waleed al-Ibrahim, owner of MBC, a Saudi television network ;Khalid al-Tuwaijri, a former chief of the Royal Court;Fawaz Alhokair, a large shareholder in fashion retailer Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair Co; and Turki bin Nasser, a former head of  Saudi Arabia’s meteorology and EPA, the source told Reuters.

An email seen by Reuters written by MBC’s CEO Sam Barnett sent to MBC employees said Waleed al-Ibrahim had been released from detention and was with members of his family in Riyadh.

The latest settlements appear that the central part of the investigation may be coming to a close. This is a relief for shareholder in the companies run by the suspects, some of which have seen their share prices fall substantially since the beginning of high-level crackdown.

The panel summoned 320 individuals to provide more information, while detaining a number of suspects. It has also frozen 376 bank accounts of the detainees or related persons.

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