Saudi authorities are striking agreements with some of those detained in an anti-corruption crackdown, asking them to hand over assets and cash in return for their freedom, sources familiar with the matter said. Scarlett Cvitanovich reports.
It's been nearly two weeks since dozens of Saudi Arabia's elite were detained in an anti-graft purge. Part of a ruthless transformation of the kingdom by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Now, sources say authorities are striking deals. Asking some of those detained to hand over assets and cash in return for their freedom. One businessman agreed to tens of millions of Saudi riyals being withdrawn from his bank account. Another former senior official signed away ownership of four billion riyals - or more than 1 billion dollars worth of shares. Royalty, senior officials and businessmen have been detained in the inquiry, including billionaire prince Alwaleed bin Talal, one of the richest men in the world and likened as the Middle East's Warren Buffet. A newly-formed anti-corruption committee was created by royal decree and is chaired by 32-year-old Prince Mohammed. It has the power to use quote "whatever measures are deemed necessary" to seize companies, funds and other assets. But many analysts say the goal of this purge goes beyond corruption and is aimed at removing any potential opposition to the young prince as he pushes a controversial reform agenda. Saudi authorities have pledged fair justice to those detained.