RIYADH (Dispatches) – Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor says most of the people detained in a sweeping anti-corruption campaign launched last month have agreed to settlements to avoid prosecution while the rest could be held for months.
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.
Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb said in a statement "the necessary arrangements are being finalized to conclude such agreements.”
He also said the bank accounts of 376 individuals detained over corruption allegations have been frozen.
Mojeb had previously estimated that at least $100 billion had been misused by the suspects through systematic graft and embezzlement over several decades.
Last week, Saudi Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, a son of the former Saudi king, was freed after reaching a $1-billion "acceptable settlement agreement” with the kingdom’s authorities.
On November 4, dozens of Saudi princes, ministers, and former ministers were detained on the orders of Saudi Arabia’s so-called Anti-Corruption Committee headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Former spy chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan as well as billionaire Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal are among the notable businessmen and royals incarcerated in the biggest purge of the country’s elite in the kingdom’s modern history.
The kingdom also blocked the assets of the crown prince’s cousin, Mohammed bin Nayef, who reportedly continues to be under house arrest.
Nayef was the crown prince until June when he was ousted by King Salman and replaced by his son.
The detained individuals are facing allegations of money laundering, bribery, extorting officials, and misappropriation of public funds for personal benefits.
The crackdown is believed to be a self-promotion campaign launched by the crown prince aimed at consolidating his power.
On November 22, DailyMail.com cited a Saudi source as saying that Saudi Arabia was using U.S. mercenaries to torture the detained Saudi elites. The source noted that Mohammed Bin Salman himself conducted some of the interrogations.