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Saudi authorities release remaining detainees from Ritz

Saudi Arabian authorities have released all remaining detainees from Riyadh’s opulent Ritz-Carlton Hotel, where they were held as part of an anti-corruption campaign. 

Dozens of princes, senior officials and top businessmen were detained and confined in the opulent Ritz-Carlton Riyadh as the government launched the purge in early November. 

While the hotel is no longer being used as a detention centre, some of those held there have instead been moved to prison.  

Saudi Arabian attorney general Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb said on Tuesday that 56 corruption suspects were still in custody out of 381 high profile figures detained on graft allegations.

Free: All remaining detainees have been released from the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Riyadh, which had been used to hold  185 princes, businessmen and officials accused of corruption

He said he has decided to release all those proven not guilty and others who had agreed financial settlements with the government after admitting to corruption allegations.

Mojeb also said that total settlements with the suspects had topped 400 billion riyals ($107 billion) in various forms of assets.

‘There are no longer any detainees left at the Ritz-Carlton,’ the official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity under briefing rules.

Those who have been moved from the Ritz to prison are believed to have not reached financial settlements with the authorities.

Last week, the attorney general said that countrywide most detainees had agreed to settlements, 90 had been released after charges were dropped, and 95 remained in custody. Some cases will go to trial.

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.

Not truly free: Prince Alwaleed, owner of global investor Kingdom Holding, pictured being interviewed  in the Ritz Carlton during his arrest, has reportedly been freed but is being kept under observation by the government

Not truly free: Prince Alwaleed, owner of global investor Kingdom Holding, pictured being interviewed in the Ritz Carlton during his arrest, has reportedly been freed but is being kept under observation by the government

Clampdown: One of the first things Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman did following his ascension was to tackle corruption in Saudi Arabia with the arrests

Clampdown: One of the first things Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman did following his ascension was to tackle corruption in Saudi Arabia with the arrests

Imprisoned in luxury: This picture, obtained by DailyMail.com in the days after the round-up, shows how 11 princes and billionaires being held in the Riyadh Ritz Carton

Imprisoned in luxury: This picture, obtained by DailyMail.com in the days after the round-up, shows how 11 princes and billionaires being held in the Riyadh Ritz Carton

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 showed off the comforts of his suite’s gold-accented private office, a dining room and a kitchen which was fully stocked with his preferred vegetarian meals.

However, a source close to the Saudi royal family has told DailyMail.com that Prince Alwaleed is under house arrest and is banned from leaving the country.

Alwaleed was released from detention Saturday after he made an undisclosed financial settlement with the Saudi government after two months held captive. The figure has been reported to be as high as $6 billion.

A source close to Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, known by his initials MBS, told DailyMail.com Alwaleed is still being closely watched and not really free.

His release was merely a PR exercise to counter media reports which had caused embarrassment for the Gulf state last week. 

The hotel has 492 guest rooms and suites and 52 acres (21 hectares) of landscaped gardens, according to its website. It has said it will reopen to the public in mid-February, with a nightly rate for its cheapest room of 2,439 riyals ($650).



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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