A total of 208 individuals have been called in for questioning so far in Saudi Arabia’s crackdown on corruption, in which seven have been released without charge, according to the nation’s Attorney General, adding that at least $100 billion in funds has been misused.
“The investigations of the supreme anti-corruption committee are proceeding quickly,” said Sheikh Saud Al Mojeb, Attorney General of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and member of the supreme anti-corruption committee, reports the SPA news agency.
Al Mojeb said the potential scale of corrupt practices which have been uncovered is very large. “Based on our investigations over the past three years, we estimate that at least $100 billion USD has been misused through systematic corruption and embezzlement over several decades,” Al Mojeb said.
“The evidence for this wrongdoing is very strong, and confirms the original suspicions which led the Saudi Arabian authorities to begin the investigation into these suspects in the first place,” Al Mojeb said.
Given the scale of the allegations, the Saudi Arabian authorities, under the direction of the Royal Order issued on November 4, has a legal mandate to move to the next phase of investigations, and to take action to suspend personal bank accounts.
Al Mojeb said that on Tuesday, the Governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA), agreed to his request to suspend the personal bank accounts of persons of interests in the investigation.
There has been a great deal of speculation around the world regarding the identities of the individuals concerned and the details of the charges against them.
But Al Mojeb said that to ensure that the individuals continue to enjoy the full legal rights afforded to them under Saudi law, they won’t be be currently revealing any more personal details at this time. “We ask that their privacy is respected while they continue to be subject to our judicial process,” Al Mojeb saod.
Al Mojeb stressed that only personal bank accounts have been suspended. Companies and banks are free to continue with transactions as usual.