Saudi Arabia announced on Thursday 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, AP reported.
The kingdom’s Attorney General Saud al-Mojeb said in a statement that 208 people had been called in for questioning since Saturday evening, and that seven people were released without charge, leaving 201 people still in detention.
The figure released by the government is far larger than previously reported as it appears more arrests were made throughout the week.
Among those detained are billionaire Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and two of the late King Abdullah’s sons, including Prince Miteb who until Saturday had headed the powerful National Guard before he was ousted and detained. Prince Miteb was once a contender for the throne and was believed to be opposed to the king’s 32-year-old, Mohammed bin Salman, becoming successor as crown prince.
The crown prince is leading the probe as the head of a newly-formed anti-corruption committee.
“The potential scale of corrupt practices which have been uncovered is very large,” the attorney general said, adding that based on investigations over the past three years, at least $100 billion has been misused through corruption.
The government has declined to name the individuals being questioned, saying it is respecting their privacy during this phase of the process.
An estimated 1700 bank accounts have been frozen belonging to individuals. Al-Mojeb confirmed that action was taken to suspend personal bank accounts, but did not disclose any figures. The government has stressed that only personal banks have been frozen, leaving companies and businesses so far untouched.