Saudi Arabia has detained more than 200 people in an anti-corruption purge that touched $100 billion

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Mohammed bin Salman
Saudi
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends the Future Investment
Initiative conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia October 24,
2017.

REUTERS/Hamad I
Mohammed


Saudi Arabia detained more than 200 people in
a landmark anti-corruption probe that affected around $100
billion in funds, the kingdom announced Thursday.

The purge — launched last weekend — touched Saudi Arabia’s
government and business leaders. Two hundred and eight
people have been called in for questioning since Saturday
evening, Saudi Attorney General Saud al-Mojeb said in

a statement cited by the Associated Press.

Seven people were released without charge, al-Mojeb said,
with 201 people still in detention. The statement said
that at least $100 billion has been misused through
corruption and embezzlement, spanning several decades.

At least 11 princes and dozens of government ministers were
arrested in the surprise first wave of the anti-corruption purge
on Saturday.

The arrests this weekend included Prince Alwaleed bin
Talal, a billionaire investor, and Prince Mutaib bin
Abdullah, the head of the National Guard, who was considered a
potential rival for the Saudi throne.

The government said over the weekend that the anti-corruption
committee
headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had the right
to issue arrest warrants, impose travel restrictions, and freeze
bank accounts. An estimated 1,700 individual bank accounts
have been frozen, according to the Associated Press.

Crown Prince Mohammed is widely seen as the driving force behind
the anti-corruption purge. The 32-year-old heir to the
throne is consolidating power in a way Saudi Arabia hasn’t
seen in decades.

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