World

Saudi Arabia corruption probe widens corruption

RIYADH — Saudi Arabia announced on Thursday that it has detained 201 people as part of a sweeping probe, estimating that at least $100 billion has been misused through embezzlement and corruption in past decades.

Attorney General Saud al-Mojeb said in a statement that 208 people had been called in for questioning since Saturday evening, and that seven were released without charge, leaving 201 people still in detention.

Critics and observers say the purge that has targeted top princes, officials, military officers, and businessmen is a power grab by the crown prince to sideline potential rivals and critics.

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Among those detained are billionaire Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and two of the late King Abdullah’s sons, including Prince Miteb. Prince Miteb was once a contender for the throne and was believed to be opposed to the king’s 32-year-old son, Mohammed bin Salman, becoming successor as crown prince.

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The crown prince is leading the probe as the head of a newly formed anticorruption committee.

The government has declined to name the individuals being questioned, saying it is respecting their privacy during this phase of the process.