According to a report published in The Financial Time on Thursday, Saudi authorities were negotiating settlements with individuals held over allegations of corruption at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Riyadh.
In some cases the regime in Riyadh is seeking to appropriate as much as 70 per cent of suspects’ wealth, two of the people said, in a bid to channel hundreds of billions of dollars into depleted state coffers. The arrangements, which have already seen some assets and funds handed over to the state, provide an insight into the strategy behind Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s dramatic purge.
The crackdown has led to the detention of hundreds of royals, ministers and the country’s richest magnates, including Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the billionaire, Waleed al-Ibrahim, the founder of Middle East Broadcasting Center, which owns the Saudi satellite television channel Al Arabiya, and Bakr bin Laden, chairman of the Saudi Binladin construction group. Some of the suspects, many of whom have been detained at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh since last week, are keen to secure their release by signing over cash and corporate assets, say people close to the negotiations. “They are making settlements with most of those in the Ritz,” said one adviser. “Cough up the cash and you will go home.”
Meanwhile, Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, the son of the late King Abdullah who was once considered a future crown prince, was beaten and tortured, along with five other princes, when he was arrested and interrogated in Riyadh during the ongoing political purge in the kingdom, the Middle East Eye has revealed.
Elsewhere, Saudi monarch King Salman is set to step down and announce his son Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman as his successor next week, sources said.
The 81-year-old king will continue as a ceremonial figurehead, handing over official leadership of the country to his son — often referred to as MBS, the Daily Mail quoted royal sources as saying.
The move is seen as the final step in the 32-year-old bin Salman’s power grab, which began earlier this month with the arrests of over 40 princes and government ministers in a corruption probe.