High-profile prince among detainees released after Saudi crackdown

By Allen Cone  |  Nov. 28, 2017 at 4:32 PM
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Nov. 28 (UPI) -- A high-level Saudi prince was released Tuesday three weeks after what the government called a corruption crackdown.

Prince Mutaib bin Abdullah, the 65-year-old son of former King Abdullah, is the highest-profile prince released since the arrest of 200 princes, former and current government officials and businessmen began on Nov. 4, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Mutaib, who once led the country's national guard, was reportedly imprisoned at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh and is now back at his palace in Saudi Arabia's capital city.

It wasn't known if he is under house arrest, an associate of the royal family and an American official tracking the events told The New York Times.

The prince was among those who paid money to the government in return for not going to court, the Journal reported.

"People are being offered settlements and those who are agreeing are settling and going home," said Ali Shihabi, who is close to the Saudi government and is executive director of the Arabia Foundation, a Washington-based think tank, said. "People who don't agree will enter a formal legal process."

At one time Mutaib was a considered a potential successor to the Saudi throne, but he was seen as a rival to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who initiated the crackdown.

King Salman, 81, has given the 32-year-old bin Salman widespread authority over the country's military and economic policies.

Also released was Mohammed al-Tobaishi, the head of protocol in the royal court until the spring of 2015.

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who currently or formerly owned stakes in News Corp, Citigroup and Twitter, was among those detained. His status wasn't reported.

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