Saudi Arabia releases two princes after corruption probe

Family member posts photos of Prince Faisal bin Abdullah and Prince Mashal bin Abdullah
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman instigated the corruption crackdown.
Sat 30 Dec 2017 12:30 AM

Saudi Arabia has released two sons of late king Abdullah two months after they were detained in a sweeping anti-corruption purge, a source close to the government said Friday.

"They have been released," the source said a day after a family member posted photos of Prince Faisal bin Abdullah, a former head of the Saudi Red Crescent, and Prince Mashal bin Abdullah, a previous governor of Makkah, on Twitter.

Prince Turki bin Abdullah was the only brother left in detention, the source said, without adding if his brothers had reached a cash settlement to be released.

Another brother, influential Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, was freed in late November after three weeks in detention following a "settlement" with authorities reportedly exceeding $1 billion.

At the time, the former National Guard chief was seen as the most high-ranking royal to be released.

The four brothers were among more than 200 princes, ministers and businessmen rounded up earlier that month, as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman tightened his grip on power.

Most of those detained have struck monetary settlements in exchange for their freedom, the attorney general said this month.

Other high-profile targets of the crackdown include billionaire Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, dubbed the Warren Buffett of Saudi Arabia.

Many of the detainees have been held at Riyadh's Ritz-Carlton hotel, which has been turned into a luxury prison.

Saudi authorities insist the purge was meant solely to target endemic corruption as the kingdom seeks to diversify its oil-dependent economy.

The attorney general has previously said he estimates at least $100 billion has been lost in embezzlement or corruption over several decades.

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Last Updated: Fri 29 Dec 2017 11:58 PM GST

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