Riyadh (November 10, 2017): Corrupt practices by Saudi royals and officials have cost the kingdom at least $100 billion over decades.
Saudi Arabia’s attorney general, Sheikh Saud Al Mojeb, gave the estimate of the losses in a statement on Thursday. He said that 208 individuals have been questioned as part of an extensive investigation. Seven of them have been released without charge.“Based on our investigations over the past three years, we estimate that at least $100 billion has been misused through systematic corruption and embezzlement over several decades,” the kingdom’s top legal official said.
“The evidence for this wrongdoing is very strong, and confirms the original suspicions which led the Saudi Arabian authorities to begin the investigation in the first place,” he added.Saudi authorities arrested dozens of royals, businessmen and senior government officials on Saturday in a surprise anti-corruption sweep. Those arrested included billionaire businessman Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the former head of the royal court Khaled Al-Tuwaijri and Saudi media mogul Waleed Al-Ibrahim.
The Saudi central bank has frozen the personal accounts of people under investigation. And authorities in the United Arab Emirates have reportedly asked banks there for information about assets held by 19 Saudi royals and officials.