Saudi Arabia’s Attorney General said today detailed questioning of individuals detained on the back of an anti-corruption probe had taken place and “a great deal of evidence” had already been gathered.
Dozens of people including royals, ministers and businessmen have been detained in an investigation by a new anti-corruption body headed by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.
“Yesterday does not represent the start, but the completion of Phase One of our anti-corruption push,” a statement by Attorney General Sheikh Saud Al Mojeb said.
The investigations were done in a discreet manner, the statement said, “in order to preserve the integrity of the legal proceedings and ensure there was no flight from justice.”
Dozens of people have been detained in the crackdown, including billionaire Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal, Saudi Arabia’s best-known international investor.
A no-fly list has been drawn up and security forces in some Saudi airports were barring owners of private jets from taking off without a permit, pan-Arab daily Al-Asharq Al-Awsat said. Among those detained are 11 princes, four ministers and tens of former ministers, according to Saudi officials.
The allegations against the men include money laundering, bribery, extortion and taking advantage of public office for personal gain, a Saudi official told Reuters.
A royal decree on Saturday said the crackdown was launched in response to “exploitation by some of the weak souls who have put their own interests above the public interest, in order to, illicitly accrue money”.
The new anti-corruption committee has the power to seize assets at home and abroad before the results of its investigations are known.