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Purge Anti-corruption In Saudi Arabia: A Prince Released After Paying ‘$1 Billion Dollars’

Purge anti-corruption in Saudi Arabia: a prince released after paying a billion dollars© Philippe Wojazer Source: Reuters
Prince Metab ben Abdallah

Saudi authorities have freed Prince Metab bin Abdullah, son of the late King Abdullah, who was arrested in early November as part of a massive anti-corruption purge , according to a source close to the government quoted by AFP. He was released after paying more than $ 1 billion in a “settlement agreement” with the authorities, says Bloomberg News.

Aged 64, Metab ben Abdallah was once considered a pretender to the throne. Before his arrest, he had been fired from the post of leader of the powerful Saudi National Guard. According to Reuters, Metab ben Abdallaha was accused of embezzlement, for example, or gave his own companies a $ 10 billion contract for walkie-talkies and bullet-proof vests.

Some analysts, however, saw in the dismissal of Metab ben Abdallah an attempt by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is also defense minister, to consolidate his hold on power and control over the security services. The Saudi authorities say that the purge was only aimed at tackling endemic corruption, while the kingdom seeks to diversify its economy, too dependent on oil.

Metab ben Abdallah was arrested in early November along with dozens of princes, ministers, former ministers and businessmen in an unprecedented anti-corruption operation in this ultra-conservative kingdom.

In total, more than 200 influential figures were apprehended after the establishment of an anti-corruption commission chaired by the new strongman of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed ben Salmane. In an interview with the New York Times on November 23 , he said that 95 per cent of those detained had accepted a “settlement” or the return to the Saudi Treasury of assets or ill-gotten cash in negotiations. .

The Attorney General of Saudi Arabia estimates that for several decades at least $ 100 billion has been diverted or used for corruption purposes in the kingdom.

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