After Recouping Over $100 Billion, Saudi Arabia Ends Controversial ‘Anti-corruption’ Campaign
Saudi Arabia’s rulers have ended a controversial anti-corruption campaign that critics claim was geared towards consolidating the power of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. During the 15-month initiative, more than 200 Saudi royals and business tycoons were detained, many held for months at a makeshift prison in the capital’s Ritz Carlton Hotel. According to officials, the Saudi regime confiscated more than $100 billion in assets from 87 individuals that “confessed” to charges against them. An additional 64 cases are still pending, with some already having been referred to the state prosecutor. Despite concerns over human rights violations, the clampdown initially drew minimal criticism from Western governments largely due to bin Salman’s declared commitment to modernizing the ultra-conservative Muslim country. However, the same worries re-emerged, intensified and, in turn, manifested in political action against Riyadh in the wake of bin Salman’s apparent involvement in the grisly murder last October of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.