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Most detained in Saudi purge agree to financial settlement, says attorney general

Saudi Attorney General Sheikh Saud Al-Mujib. (Photo courtesy: social media)
JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Anti-Corruption Committee has subpoenaed 320 people so far, Saudi Attorney General Sheikh Saud Al-Mujib announced in a statement on Monday.
The committee was established by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman under Royal Order Number A/38 on Nov. 4, and immediately announced a swathe of arrests in a sweeping crackdown on corruption in the Kingdom.
A number of high-profile individuals were arrested, including ministers, royal family members, and prominent businessmen.
Since the committee’s last announcement on Nov. 9, Al-Mujib said additional individuals had been subpoenaed “as a result of information revealed.”
Al-Mujib revealed that “most detainees” facing corruption allegations have agreed to a settlement and that their agreements are currently being finalized.
He said that “a number of individuals” had been referred to the Public Prosecutor’s Office and that 159 people currently remain in detention.
“Based on evidence,” the statement read, “the Public Prosecutor’s Office decided to continue detaining a limited number of individuals and release the remaining individuals.”
The attorney general said that procedures related to the corruption cases are being carried out in two phases. The first phase, he explained, applies to those who admit to the allegations “freely and without coercion” and is based on the Royal Order’s stipulation that the committee “has the right to decide what it deems as achieving public interest, especially with those who responded positively to the Committee.”
The committee has followed internationally applied procedures, Al-Mujib said, and offered detainees the chance to agree to a settlement recouping the State’s funds and assets, thus eliminating the need for prolonged litigation.
“No detainee will be pressurized in any shape or form,” Al-Mujib said, “and each detainee has the right to refuse to settle at any time before the settlement agreement is signed.”
He also stressed that the Law of Criminal Procedures guarantees defendants’ rights, including the right to an attorney during the processes of investigation and prosecution and the right to contact and inform any person of their detention. The Law of Criminal Procedures also prohibits subjecting detainees to any harm, he added.
If a detainee reaches a settlement agreement, the committee will end litigation and issue a pardon to that individual. But any detainees who deny the allegations, or with whom a settlement cannot be reached, are referred to the Public Prosecutor’s Office, which will continue to investigate and present its findings to the suspect, in accordance with the Law of Criminal Procedures.
The Public Prosecutor’s Office also decides on an appropriate detention period for each individual — if the evidence warrants detention — as their case is investigated. The attorney general can authorize detention of up to six months, but the relevant court can order an extension of that period.
Once the investigation is concluded, the Public Prosecutor’s Office decides if there is sufficient evidence for the case to proceed. If there is not, the individual is released.
Al-Mujib confirmed that the bank accounts of 376 individuals — who are either detainees or are linked to allegations of corruption — remain frozen, but stressed that the assets and corporate entities of those detained, and any rights of any other parties to such assets or corporate entities, would not be affected or disrupted.
 

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