13 March 2018

King Salman has established special anti-corruption units of prosecutors to pursue embezzlement cases in the kingdom, after a recent crackdown. This was announced Sunday in a report on the state-run Saudi Press Agency. The king’s decision came from “his concern over combating corruption in all its forms aiming to protect the homeland and its resources, maintain public money and protect the integrity of the public employment,” according to Saudi state media.

The crackdown under the supervision of Crown Prince and Defence Minister of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman netted more than $106 billion in exchange for the release most of the detainees. At the start of the crackdown they promised transparency, but they did not deliver it. The whole operation is shrouded in complete secrecy. The wealthy and powerful Saudis who were taken into custody remain unclear as to what assets they’ve lost. Above all no one knows what happened to the $106 billion collected.

After interviewing with former detainees and relatives, New York Times finds that 17 detainees were hospitalised during the time they were in custody. At least one Saudi general died in custody. Maj. Gen. Ali al-Qahtani’s neck was twisted unnaturally, and that his body was badly bruised probably due to electric shock. Official reports say al-Qahtani died from a stroke. Major General al-Qahtani was an aide to Prince Turki bin Abdullah. Both were detained on suspicion of corruption linked to the Riyadh metro project.

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