Thursday, 14 December, 2017

Saudi Corruption Settlement Talks Seen Ending in 'Few Weeks'

Alexander Novak Russia's energy minister Khalid Al-Falih Saudi Arabia's energy minister and Opec secretary general Mohammed Barkindo. Lisi Niesner  EPA Saudi anti-corruption drive: Detainees offered pardon
Marlene Weaver | 07 December, 2017, 02:34

Saudi security forces have rounded up members of the political and business elite, including princes and tycoons, holding them in Riyadh's opulent Ritz Carlton hotel on the orders of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in what was billed as a war on rampant corruption.

Prominent figures, including princes, ministers and businessmen, were taken into custody last month.

Since the committee's last announcement on November 9, Al-Mujib said additional individuals had been subpoenaed "as a result of information revealed".

In a statement, the public prosecutor said a total of 320 people had been subpoenaed to provide information about alleged graft while 159 remain in detention and "a number" of them have been referred for judicial action.

Prince Miteb, once seen as a contender to the throne, was freed after agreeing an "acceptable settlement" with authorities of more than US$1bn (£750m).

The attorney general said that procedures related to the corruption cases are being carried out in two phases.

USA officials say Trump has cast wider net for deportations
Between Jan. 20 and September 30, the agency arrested almost 111,000 people, a 42 percent increase over the prior year. Meanwhile, immigration arrests in the interior of the country increased by 25 percent, the data show.

Those who denied the allegations or refused settlements face prosecution.

This stage is based on a system according to which the Royal Order, referred to above, states that the committee "decides what it deems beneficial in the public interest, especially with those who have responded positively to them".

The prince hopes to recover much of the US$100bn that the attorney general said was "misused through systematic corruption and embezzlement over several decades".

It should be noted that all detainees are free to communicate with whoever they wish at this stage, that they are not being coerced in anyway, and have the right to reject the settlement at any time before signing.

He also stressed that the Law of Criminal Procedures guarantees defendants' rights, including the right to an attorney during the processes of investigation and prosecution and the right to contact and inform any person of their detention. If the evidence against him is strong, he shall be suspended in accordance with the prescribed periods which can reach six months in accordance with the powers of the Attorney-General, or, in exceptional cases, by a decision of the competent court.

This article has been adapted from its original source.

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