Riyadh (February 12, 2018): Riyadh’s Ritz-Carlton reopened for business Sunday, three months after it became a holding place for princes and ministers detained in the biggest anti-graft purge of the kingdom’s elite in its modern history.
The luxury hotel had been closed for business since the unprecedented probe was launched on November 4, 2017 by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has tightened his grip on power since his shock appointment as heir to the throne last June.A hotel receptionist reached by phone confirmed that the hotel was open to the public. Another source inside the hotel said the property had no detainees.
Many of the high-profile suspects, including billionaire Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal — dubbed the Warren Buffett of Saudi Arabia — have been released in recent weeks in exchange for what officials have dubbed financial settlements.
Attorney General Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb said in late January that after completing enquiries into 381 high-profile corruption suspects, he would keep 56 in custody and free the rest. It was unclear if the remaining suspects had been moved to another facility.Total settlements with the suspects had topped $107 billion in various forms of assets handed over that included property, securities and cash, he said.
Another high-profile detainee, former National Guard chief Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, was released following a “settlement” with the authorities that reportedly exceeded $1 billion.
Prince Mohammed, the 32-year-old son of the king, has spearheaded the crackdown on corruption among members of the government and royal family over the past three months.