Middle East

20 Saudi officials, princes accused of corruption released

Riyadh, Dec 26 (IANS): Around 20 Saudi Arabian princes and officials accused of corruption were released after accepting financial settlement, local media reported Monday.

Among those released were a former official of the Finance Ministry and a number of businessmen, an advisor to the Saudi government was quoted by the Sabq online news website as saying, Xinhua reported.

More people are expected to be freed soon as part of the government's pledge to end the country's largest corruption case in history that has attracted attention worldwide.

The Saudi government officially announced early this month that 159 individuals were arrested over corruption charges. Most of them have agreed on financial settlement.

Early last month, local media reported that 11 princes and 38 sitting or former ministers were arrested over corruption charges.

The arrest orders were issued by a panel formed by Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The panel also announced that it is reopening the case of the 2009 Jeddah deadly floods and investigating the case related to the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) Coronavirus.

The panel summoned 320 individuals to provide more information, while detaining a number of suspects. It has also frozen 376 bank accounts of the detainees or related persons.

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