Saudi Arabia on Thursday said it had held 208 people for questioning as part of an anti-corruption crackdown. The administration is investigating embezzlement to the tune of $100 billion (approximately Rs 65.15 lakh crore). Seven individuals have so far been released without charge, the information ministry said in a statement.
“The potential scale of corrupt practices which have been uncovered is very large,” the ministry said. “Based on our investigations over the past three years, we estimate that at least $100 billion has been misused through systematic corruption and embezzlement over several decades.”
Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb, Saudi’s attorney-general, said he had asked the kingdom’s central bank to suspend the personal bank accounts of “persons of interest” in the investigation. “Companies and banks are free to continue with transactions as usual,” he added.
The anti-corruption campaign, headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (pictured above), has accused princes, prominent businessmen, former minister among others of money laundering, bribery and extortion. The campaign was started on Saturday. Billionaire Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and two of the late King Abdullah’s sons are also facing corruption charges.