Riyadh: Saudi Arabia has released Prince Mutaib bin Abdullah, one of the senior Saudi royals detained three weeks ago in an anti-corruption crackdown, after reaching an “acceptable settlement agreement” with authorities paying more than $1 billion, an official involved in the anti-graft campaign said on Tuesday.
Prince Miteb was among dozens of royal family members, ministers and current and former senior officials who were rounded up in a graft inquiry at least partly aimed at strengthening the power of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
An official on condition of anonymity said that at least three other suspects have also finalized settlement deals.
A son of the deceased Saudi monarch King Abdullah, Prince Mutaib was once considered a contender for the throne. Until a few hours before his arrest he had controlled one of the three main Saudi armed forces, the National Guard. His detention brought the National Guard, as well as the internal security forces and the military, all under the effective control of his cousin, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
In an interview with the New York Times published last week, Prince Mohammed bin Salman was quoted as saying that the vast majority of about 200 businessmen and officials implicated in the crackdown were agreeing to settlements under which they would hand assets over to the government.
Crown Prince Mohammed is leading the crackdown. He heads a special anti-corruption committee created by a decree from his father hours before the arrests that has been granted the authority to detain any individual and confiscate any assets at its discretion.