More than 200 arrests made in Saudi corruption crackdown

By Ray Downs  |  Nov. 9, 2017 at 8:19 PM
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Nov. 9 (UPI) -- Saudi officials said Thursday that more than 200 people have been arrested as the government investigates corruption and the misuse of billions of dollars.

Those arrested include some of the country's elite, including members of the Saudi royal family. Saudi Arabia's attorney general, Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb, said authorities believe at least $100 billion "had been misused though systematic corruption and embezzlement over several decades," The New York Times reported.

No charges have been publicly released and all but seven people arrested remain in confinement.

The investigation has been conducted at the behest of Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, a son of King Salman, Saudi Arabia's monarch. The prince's anti-corruption efforts is a break from the lenient attitudes past officials have had toward misconduct -- which has unnerved investors, who worry the anti-corruption efforts will impact stability. The Saudi government is working to assuage those fears.

"Normal commercial activity in the kingdom is not affected by these investigations," al-Mojeb said. "Companies and banks are free to continue with transactions as usual."

The scale of the probe is expected to increase as the attorney general said there was "a clear legal mandate to move to the next phase of our investigations."

On Monday, President Donald Trump praised the anti-corruption efforts.

"I have great confidence in King Salman and the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, they know exactly what they are doing," he tweeted.

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