Friday, September 30, 2022

Saudi Arabian minister ‘resumes work’ after graft detention


RIYADH: A Saudi Arabian minister who was detained in a sweeping anti-government probe at a Riyadh hotel attended a cabinet meeting on Tuesday after he was proven innocent, media reported.

The official Saudi Press Agency posted on its Twitter account pictures of Saudi King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the minister, Ibrahim Assaf, at the meeting.

Saudi newspaper Sabq, which is close to the government, said that Assaf “resumed work” on Tuesday after being “recently proven innocent and leaving the Ritz-Carlton”.

Read More: Saudi graft purge ‘raises a few concerns’ for US ally

Assaf, a minister of state and ex-finance minister, was among more than 200 princes, ministers and businessmen rounded up in November in a anti-corruption purge.

Most of those detained were held at the palatial Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh, which has turned into a luxury prison.

The purge came as Prince Mohammed, heir to the powerful throne, consolidated his grip on the Gulf kingdom.

Saudi Arabia’s attorney general has said most of those detained struck monetary settlements in exchange for their freedom.

Read More: Saudi Arabia releases two sons of late King Abdullah after graft probe

The most high-profile target of the crackdown was billionaire Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, dubbed the Warren Buffett of Saudi Arabia.

Authorities insist the purge aimed to target endemic corruption as Saudi Arabia seeks to diversify its oil-dependent economy.


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