RIYADH: In a massive country-wide drive against corruption in Saudi Arabia, country’s richest man Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has been moved from the hotel he was being detained in and thrown in jail after refusing to pay the government £728million.
Saudi billionaire investor Prince Alwaleed was arrested two months ago in what the Saudi government called an ‘anti-corruption sweep’.
His situation worsened earlier this week when he was moved from his restricted quarters at the Riyadh Ritz Carlton Hotel to the high security Al Ha’ir prison. Prince Alwaleed’s leverage to demand a trial or negotiate a deal is dwindling by the day. He has for the last two months been held at the Riyadh Ritz with 200 other princes and top officials. That number dwindled after many former detainees capitulated to the new Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who has categorically stated to wipe out corruption and to make the system correct and straight.
Meanwhile, the Public Prosecutor in Saudi Arabia has revealed that arrest warrants are being prepared for Saudi citizens on the wanted list who are currently abroad, Alkhaleejonline.net reported on Friday. The Saudi official also pointed out that a few of those being held on corruption charges are still refusing to reconcile with the government.
He told a Saudi magazine that their detention would not stop unless the country uproots corruption. “We are collecting evidence against the fugitives abroad,” said the prosecutor. Arrest warrants, he explained, will be sent to the countries where the fugitives are known to be staying in order to seek their extradition.
All Saudis facing corruption charges will be given fair trials, he concluded. Lawyers will be able to represent them during the investigations and trials.
11 princes arrested
Eleven Saudi princes who gathered at the Government Palace demanding the cancellation of the royal decree on the suspension of the payment of electricity and water bills by the royals were arrested, Attorney General Sheikh Saud Al-Mujib said in a statement on Saturday.
“The princes also demanded financial compensation for the death sentence against one of their cousins. They were informed of their wrong approach, but they refused to leave the site. A royal directive was issued to arrest them and they were sent to Al-Hair prison, pending trial,” said the statement. “We emphasize here that the royal directives are clear that all citizens are equal before the law, and those who fail to abide by the regulations and instructions will be held accountable whoever they are,” said the statement. The statement confirms earlier reports carried by local online newspaper Sabq. The website has reported that a battalion of the Saudi Royal Guard arrested 11 princes who gathered at the Riyadh Ruling Palace for the same reasons that were later mentioned in the attorney general’s statement.