Saudi Arabia announced on Thursday that 201 people are being investigated in corruption charges after being summoned on Saturday -- the total amount embezzled from the public funds exceeds USD100 billion.
Last Saturday, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz formed a Supreme Committee for Combating Corruption, headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Attorney General of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and member of the Supreme Committee for Combating Corruption Sheikh Saud al-Mujab said on Thursday that seven of the 208 accused of corruption have been released for lack of sufficient evidence.
In a statement on Thursday, Mujab said that the potential scale of corrupt practices which have been uncovered is very large.
“Based on our initial investigations we estimate that at least $100bn has been misused through and embezzled over several decades,” Mujab added.
Further evidence to substantiate the facts in these cases will continue to be collected he said, the Governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) has accepted the request to freeze their personal assets in this investigation.
Sheikh Saud made it clear that “given the magnitude of these charges, under the Royal Order of Nov 4, there is a clear legal mandate to move to the next stage of investigations with the suspects, and there is a great deal of speculation around the world about the identities of the individuals concerned and the details of the charges against them.
However, we will not disclose any details at this time, to ensure that they enjoy the full legal rights granted to them by the Kingdom, and ask to respect their privacy while undergoing judicial proceedings.”
He also stressed that normal commercial activity in the kingdom had not been affected by the crackdown and that only personal bank accounts had been frozen.
The work of the Saudi Government, under the leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz, and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is within a clear legal and institutional framework to maintain transparency and integrity in the Saudi market, Mujab noted.
King Salman stated last Saturday that the committee was formed “in view of what we have noticed of exploitation by some of the weak souls who have put their own interests above the public interest.”
Combating terrorism helps protect people, private and public properties, and the society from threats and disasters resulting from corruption in implementing projects. Also, combating terrorism enriches the work system with quality, efficiency and proficiency in a way that helps eradicate frustration and addresses the reduced sense of responsibility.
The Saudi Public Prosecution in a tweet mentioned that money laundering crime includes transferring, transporting, or conducting any transaction with the knowledge that the funds are the result of criminal activity in order to hide that source.