DUBAI: The Saudi Arabian Attorney General, Sheikh Saud Al-Mojeb, said on Tuesday that 56 corruption suspects remained in custody out of the 381 high profile figures detained on graft allegations.
He said he decided to release all those proven not guilty, as well as others who had agreed financial settlements with the government after admitting to corruption allegations.
Mojeb said the total settlements with the suspects had topped $107 billion, which came in various forms of assets.
News broke earlier on Tuesday that Saudi authorities had released all remaining detainees from Riyadh’s Ritz-Carlton Hotel, which had been used as an interrogation center in a crackdown on corruption, according to a Saudi official.
“There are no longer any detainees left at the Ritz-Carlton,” the official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity under briefing rules.
He did not say how many suspects remained in detention at other locations in Saudi Arabia. Some are believed to have been moved from the Ritz to prison after refusing to admit wrongdoing and reach financial settlements with the authorities. He said those who remained in custody were still under investigation as the legal procedures continued. Among top businessmen caught up in the purge were Prince Alwaleed, owner of global investor Kingdom Holding, and Waleed Al-Ibrahim, who controls influential regional broadcaster MBC.
MBC said the investigation found Ibrahim completely innocent of wrongdoing and Prince Alwaleed has insisted he is innocent, although Saudi officials said both men agreed to settlements after admitting unspecified “violations.”
In an interview with Reuters at his suite in the Ritz-Carlton hours before he was released on Saturday, Prince Alwaleed said he had been well-treated in custody and described his case as the result of a misunderstanding.
He was continuing to maintain his innocence of any corruption in talks with authorities. He said he expected to keep full control of his global investment firm Kingdom Holding Co. without being required to give up assets to the government. A 30-minute interview, including a tour of his suite, was granted largely in order to disprove rumours of mistreatment and of being moved from the hotel to a prison.