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RIYADH: A Saudi official said on Tuesday all detainees were released from Riyadh’s Ritz-Carlton hotel, where they were held as part of an anti-corruption campaign.
Dozens of princes, senior officials and top businessmen were detained and confined in the opulent Ritz-Carlton Riyadh as the government launched the purge in early November. The hotel was closed to normal business.
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, one of the kingdom’s top international businessmen, was released from the Ritz on Saturday.
The decision to free him, and the release of several other well-known tycoons suggested the main part of the corruption probe was winding down after it sent shockwaves through Saudi Arabia’s business and political establishment.
“He has arrived home,” one source in Prince Alwaleed’s family had told Reuters.
Prince Alwaleed had been confined at the Ritz-Carlton since early November, along with dozens of other senior officials and businessmen, part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s plan to reform oil superpower Saudi Arabia and consolidate his power.
Earlier this week the attorney general said 90 detainees had been released after having their charges dropped, while others had traded cash, real estate and other assets for their freedom. Authorities were still holding 95 people, he said. Some are expected to be put on trial.
Saudi authorities have said they expect to raise some $100 billion for the government through such settlements – a huge windfall for the state, which has seen its finances squeezed by low oil prices.