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Saudi Arabia's anti-corruption probe ends with dozens detained

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Saudi Arabia announced Wednesday the end of a high-profile anti-corruption probe that boosted the state coffers by more than US$100 billion and has left dozens detained.

[RIYADH] Saudi Arabia announced Wednesday the end of a high-profile anti-corruption probe that boosted the state coffers by more than US$100 billion and has left dozens detained.

The crackdown on graft launched in 2017 saw hundreds of elite princes, ministers and businessmen held at the luxury Ritz-Carlton hotel in the Saudi capital Riyadh.

Many were detained for weeks in the upmarket hotel, but most were released after agreeing significant financial settlements.

The corruption investigation concluded on Wednesday with the approval of King Salman, according to a statement released by the official Saudi Press Agency.

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"The public prosecutor has refused to settle the cases of 56 individuals due to already existing criminal charges against them," the statement said.

An additional eight people have seen their cases referred to the public prosecutor after they refused to reach settlements.

"Settlements were reached with 87 individuals after their confession to the charges against them," SPA said.

During the probe more than 400 billion Saudi riyal (S$144.1 billion) were recovered by the state "in the form of real estate, companies, cash, and other assets".

The figure matches that announced a year ago by the attorney general, who at the time said 56 suspects remained in custody.

Saudi Arabia's anti-graft sweep led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been labelled by some critics as a shakedown and power grab, but authorities have insisted the purge targeted endemic corruption.

AFP