Saudi prince Mutaib 'paid $10 billion' to be released from Ritz-Carlton 'prison'
Prince Mutaib al-Saud, the son of the late king Abdullah and former minister of the National Guard, was released on Tuesday.
Holding sway over the powerful agency, he had been touted in the past as possible future king of Saudi Arabia, before his ambitions were derailed after his father's death and the rise of King Salman, father of MBS.
Saudi authorities released Prince Mutaib, who was detained early November as part of the ongoing purge against leading princes and businessmen, after what according to sources was an "extortionate monetary bribe."
A source from inside the Saudi opposition told The New Arab that Prince Mutaib paid a bribe which amounted up to $10 billion in order to be released.
He did not pay the bribe himself, but his siblings and allies raised the money on his behalf between them and paid his “ransom” for him. Assets were also taken from Mutaib, such as a hotel he owns in France and land in Saudi Arabia.
The former head of royal ceremonies in Saudi Arabia, Mohammed al-Tubaishi, was also released later on Tueaday and left the Ritz-Carlton Hotel after allegedly reaching a settlement with bin Salman mounting to six billion riyals, The New Arab has learned.
The source added that more detainees will be released in the coming days, with 95 percent of the detainees reaching a financial settlement with bin Salman.
The fate of Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is currently unknown as it is unclear on whether he has accepted the settlement or not.
More than 200 people are being held for questioning over what Saudi Arabia says is an estimated $100 billion embezzlement and corruption scandal, the biggest purge of the kingdom's elite in its modern history.
But many suspect that the purge is less about corruption and more about money and a power grab. Earlier this month, US officials expressed concern over bin Salman's "reckless" actions in recent weeks to consolidate power in Saudi Arabia.