Two dozen Saudi corruption crackdown targets released
At least two dozen suspects have gone free in recent days in Saudi Arabia's corruption crackdown after reaching settlements to get out, according to "a senior adviser to the Saudi government," the WSJ reports. For those who want to clear their names, however, there will be court trials, according to the adviser.
Context: Some see the campaign as further evidence that Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who became head of the new anti-corruption committee and next in line to the throne this year, is fair. Some claim the campaign is part of his way of grabbing power, which the Saudi government has denied. The anticorruption campaign began in November, implicating more than 200 people, and many have been detained in Riyadh's Ritz-Carlton. The Kingdom estimates corruption has cost it $100 billion over decades.
- Those released include Ibrahim al-Assaf, a former finance minister accused of embezzlement, a former assistant minister of finance, the former chief executive of Saudi Telecom, and a prominent businessman, Mohy Saleh Kamel.
- It is unclear how many are still detained, but those still held include billionaire tycoon Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, who is an investor in Citigroup Inc. and Apple Inc., and from whom the Saudi government reportedly wants $6 billion, as well as Adel Fakieh, the former Saudi economy minister.