Saudi Arabia used abuse to seize billions during purge

14 March, 2018, 06:26 | Author: Kim Reid
  • Caricature of Mohammad Bin Salman and Netanyahu- Cartoon

Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who recently was released after almost three months in detention as part of a so-called anti-corruption purge, reportedly does not have the permission to travel outside of the kingdom.

Some of those held at Riyadh's luxury Ritz-Carlton hotel were deprived of sleep, roughed up, interrogated with their heads covered and pressured to hand over large assets, the report said, citing relatives and associates of detainees.

One individual, Maj. Gen. Ali al-Qahtani of the Saudi National Guard, reportedly died in custody with "a neck that appeared twisted, a badly swollen body and other signs of abuse".

A final decision will be made by Mohammed bin Salman, who oversees the kingdom's economic and oil policies.

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A doctor and two other people briefed on the condition of the body said that it had burn marks that appeared to be from electric shocks, the report said.

Now, nearly two months after the purge officially came to an end, The New York Times has released a report, echoing claims made by the MEE in November. The official added that the detainees had "full access" to legal counsel and medical care.

Major General al-Qahtani was an aide to the son of the late Saudi King Abdullah.

The report also said that more than a dozen of the prisoners were abused while they were being held, and that numerous assets of the 381 princes, ministers and tycoons have yet to be seized.

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Also, Saudi Arabia raked in almost $107 billion from the almost three-month old crackdown, which continues to be shrouded in mystery as the Saudi government has not released any details of the high-profile arrests and ensuing settlements.

Saudi officials said the crackdown, which came through royal decree, was in response to "exploitation by some of the weak souls who have put their own interests above the public interest, in order to illicitly accrue money".

Saudi officials did not immediately respond to AFP's request for comment, but the New York Times quoted the government rejecting the abuse claims as "completely untrue".

One former detainee, forced to wear a tracking device, has sunk into depression as his business collapses.

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"I would guess it is about evens that there will be no global IPO", one high-level source said, according to the agency.

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