JEDDAH – The Saudi government has released seven of the high-ranking royals, businessmen and officials, arrested during recently launched anti-graft swoop.
A state-owned media outlet, Saudi Gazette, quoted Attorney General Sheikh Saud Al-Muajab’s statement as “A total of 208 individuals have been called in for questioning so far. Of those 208 individuals, seven have been released without charge”.
However, it had not shared the names of the persons, who have been discharged.
Pakistani media claimed that the Gulf state has released Ibrahim Al-Assaf (Former Finance minister and current state minister), Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal(Billionaire owner of The Kingdom Holding group 17.1B USD net worth), Prince Turki Bin Nasser, Khaled Al-Tuwaijri (Former President of the Royal Court) Prince Fahad Bin Abdullah, Prince Mitaab Bin Abdullah (Former Minister of the National Guard) and his brother.
On Saturday, Saudi Arabia arrested 11 princes and dozens of current and former ministers in a sweeping crackdown as the kingdom’s young crown prince consolidates power.
According to the country’s media, the head of the Saudi National Guard, once a leading contender to the throne, as well as the navy chief and the economy minister were replaced in a series of high-profile sackings that sent shock waves in the kingdom.
The anti-corruption purge, which Saudi Arabia says a probe against estimated $100 billion embezzlements, was reported immediately after a new anti-corruption commission, headed by powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was established by royal decree late Saturday.
The purge comes as regional tensions raise their head, with Saudi Arabia and Iran squabbling over a failed missile attack against Riyadh airport on Saturday, that was claimed by Tehran-backed rebels in Yemen.
A political crisis is also unfolding in Lebanon after prime minister Saad Hariri announced his shock resignation in a speech from Riyadh, citing Iran´s “grip” on his country and threats to his life.