Senior Saudi prince freed in $1 billion settlement agreement: Official
DUBAI – Reuters
Senior Saudi Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, once seen as a leading contender to the throne, was freed after reaching an “acceptable settlement agreement” with authorities paying more than $1 billion, a Saudi official said on Nov. 29.
Miteb, 65, son of the late King Abdullah and former head of the elite National Guard, was among dozens of royal family members, ministers and senior officials who were rounded up in a graft inquiry partly aimed at strengthening the power of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The official, who is involved in the anti-corruption campaign, said Miteb was released on Nov. 28 after reaching “an acceptable settlement agreement.” The amount of the settlement was not disclosed but the official said it is believed to be the equivalent of more than $1 billion.
“It is understood that the settlement included admitting corruption involving known cases,” the official said.
According to a Saudi official, Prince Miteb was accused of embezzlement, hiring ghost employees and awarding contracts to his own firms including a $10 billion deal for walkie talkies and bulletproof military gear worth billions of Saudi riyals.
The allegations against the others included kickbacks, inflating government contracts, extortion and bribery.
The claims could not be independently verified.
Saudi authorities had been working on striking agreements with some of those in detention, asking them to hand over assets and cash in return for their freedom.
News of the purge emerged on Nov. 4 soon after King Salman decreed the creation of an anti-corruption committee led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, his 32-year-old favourite son, also known as MbS, who has amassed power since his meteoric rise three years ago.
The new body was given broad powers to investigate cases, issue arrest warrants and travel restrictions, and seize assets.
In an interview with the New York Times published last week, Crown 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.
He said the Public Prosecutor had also decided to release a number of individuals and to prosecute at least 5 individuals. The official gave no details on their identities.
The authorities have not revealed detailed charges against any of the detainees. It was also unclear if Miteb was able to move freely or whether he would be put under house arrest.
Officials from Miteb’s office could not immediately be reached for a comment about his release. An acquaintance of the family has said earlier on his twitter account that Miteb was receiving brothers and sons at his palace in Riyadh.