Saudi authorities offered detained princes exorbitant 'get-out-of-jail tickets'

Saudi authorities offered detained princes exorbitant 'get-out-of-jail tickets'
Saudi Arabia has reportedly demanded that individuals accused of corruption hand over up to 70 percent of their wealth.
2 min read
17 November, 2017
Around 200 individuals were arrested in an anti-corruption sweep last week [Getty]

Saudi authorities have offered wealthy individuals detained on various corruption charges an opportunity to buy back their freedom, according to a recent report.

According to the Financial Times, which quoted "people briefed on the discussions," the detained individuals were asked to surrender up to 70 percent of their wealth in exchange for release.

Saudi Arabia's so-called anti-corruption crackdown escalated last week when around 200 individuals were arrested and placed under arrest at the order of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

Among those detained are wealthy businessmen and royal family members, including Saudi Binladin group chairman Bakr Bin Laden and billionnaire prince al-Waleed bin Talal.

Many of the accused have been held in Riyadh's luxury Ritz-Carlton hotel.

The FT quoted one source as saying that "they [Saudi authorities] are making settlements with most of those in the Ritz. Cough up the cash and you will go home."

It is speculated that if the extortionate sums are obtained, the funds will be used to replenish the kingdom's depleted coffers.

Saudi Arabia is currently experiencing a period of dramatic change spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammad, who is seen as the driving force behind the kingdom's ambitious economic and social plans.

The young prince has been credited for the country's recent repeal of a law banning women from driving and has been hailed as a reformer in the ultra conservative kingdom.

At the same time, Crown Prince Mohammad has also been accused of orchestrating an authoritarian power grab that has resulted in a clampdown of freedoms and the arrests of hundreds of people.