Feb 14, 2018: Riyadh prison hotel reopens for normal business
SAUDI ARABIA - The opulent Ritz-Carlton Riyadh hotel used as a prison for princes, senior officials and top businessmen during November’s purge on corruption reopens for business. The cases of many of the dozens of detainees are reported to be close to settlement.
The hotel was closed to normal business and it became a prison after the new Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, launched a corruption crackdown that some describe as an effort to consolidate his power. Al-Jazeera notes that it has upended the domestic and regional balance of power, and it foresees a possible backlash – a loss of investor confidence in the country at a time when it is trying to diversify its economy away from oil. Some reports say wealthy Saudis are moving assets out of the region in reaction to the purge.
Local officials told Reuters that Saudi authorities were close to winding up a major part of the crackdown. The majority of suspects are expected to agree to financial settlements to make the charges go away, and Riyadh hopes to recover about US $100 billion of illicit funds. A small number of detainees face prosecution.
In late November Miteb bin Abdullah, a senior Saudi prince once seen as a leading contender to the throne, was freed after reaching a settlement with authorities that involved paying more than US $1billion, according to a Saudi official.