RIYADH. - Saudi Arabia’s attorney general has freed two sons of the late King Abdullah from their detention as part of the kingdom’s anti-corruption crackdown, according to Reuters.
Prince Meshaal bin Abdullah and Prince Faisal bin Abdullah are among some 200 other royal family members, government ministers and businessmen who have been detained since the government began an “anti-corruption purge”, led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in November.
The pair were released from Riyadh’s Ritz-Carlton hotel after they agreed financial settlements with the government, a senior Saudi official told Reuters. A decision on whether to release a third brother, Prince Turki bin Abdullah, has not yet been reached, the source said.
Nearly two dozen other individuals were released earlier this week, as reported by Saudi newspaper Okaz on December 26. Detainees who have not reached agreements with the government are set to face trial, the report said. The kingdom is preparing to channel billions of dollars of seized funds from the anti-graft campaign into economic development projects, a Saudi minister said on December 4.
A special Ministry of Finance account has been opened to receive such funds, which the public prosecutor’s office has estimated should eventually total between $50bn and $100bn, Minister of Commerce and Investment Majid bin Abdullah al-Qasabi said.
Last month, senior Saudi prince and former head of the National Guard, Miteb bin Abdullah, was released after reportedly agreeing a $1bn settlement with the government. Miteb is another son of the late King Abdullah, and the cousin of Crown Prince Salman.
The shake-up of the Saudi government came just months after King Salman replaced his nephew Mohammed bin Nayef with his son Mohammed bin Salman as the kingdom’s heir to the throne. The dramatic “anti-corruption purge” is the latest in a series of measures by the crown prince viewed as a move to assert power over the country and its previous leaders. - Reuters