Saudi AG reveals corruption close to $100 billion, 7 suspects released without charge

Attorney General Saud Al-Mojeb. (Photo courtesy: social media)
Updated 12 November 2017

Saudi AG reveals corruption close to $100 billion, 7 suspects released without charge

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia has uncovered corruption to the tune of $100 billion.
In a statement on Thursday, Attorney General Saud Al-Mojeb said: “The investigations of the Supreme Anti-Corruption Committee are proceeding quickly ... The potential scale of corrupt practices which have been uncovered is very large.”
Based on the investigations over the past three years, Al-Mojeb estimated that “at least $100 billion has been misused through systematic corruption and embezzlement over several decades.”
He said a total of 208 individuals have been called in for questioning so far. Of them, “seven have been released without charge.”
Al-Mojeb, who is also the member of the anti-corruption committee, said the evidence for “this wrongdoing is very strong and confirms the original suspicions which led the Saudi authorities to begin the investigation into these suspects in the first place.”
 

He said given the scale of the allegations, the Saudi authorities, under the direction of the royal order issued on Nov. 4, had a clear legal mandate to move to the next phase of “our investigations, and to take action to suspend personal bank accounts.”
“On Tuesday, the governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) agreed to my request to suspend the personal bank accounts of persons of interests in the investigation,” he said.
Al-Mojeb admitted that there has been a great deal of speculation around the world regarding the identities of the individuals concerned and the details of the charges against them.
“In order to ensure that the individuals continue to enjoy the full legal rights afforded to them under Saudi law, we will not be revealing any more personal details at this time,” he said.
“We ask that their privacy is respected while they continue to be subject to our judicial process.”
He reiterated that it was important to repeat, as all Saudi authorities have done over the past few days, that normal commercial activity in the Kingdom is not affected by these investigations.
“Only personal bank accounts have been suspended. Companies and banks are free to continue with transactions as usual,” he said.
Al-Mojeb said: “The Government of Saudi Arabia, under the leadership of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is working within a clear legal and institutional framework to maintain transparency and integrity in the market.”


Saudi businesses wary of Chinese coronavirus spread

The value of Saudi-Chinese commercial exchanges exceedes $65 billion, says expert. (Photo/Shutterstock)
Updated 6 min 53 sec ago

Saudi businesses wary of Chinese coronavirus spread

  • Mixed reaction expressed over Beijing’s handling of the situation

MAKKAH: Saudi businesses have given mixed responses over the possibility of a decrease in trade between Saudi Arabia and China due to the recent coronavirus outbreak.

Some are worried for the future, others are blaming media scaremongering for overblowing the scale of the epidemic, and some say Beijing’s handling of the situation, with health care infrastructure already in place, will head off the spread of the condition.
“What is currently happening is an unjustified media amplification aimed at harming the pillars of China’s economy in favor of other economies,” said businessman Khalid Al-Shulail, an investor in production chains, medium-sized industries and construction materials.
“The health crisis is centered in the Chinese city of Wuhan. The impact could be limited to an increase in transport and shipping prices,” he said.
“All that is happening is the revival of old scenarios that happened with the SARS and swine flu epidemics. These are economic conflicts aimed at disrupting the growth of the Chinese economy as there are competing economies greatly benefitting from this situation,” he added.
However, Mohamed Fadl Al-Rahman, owner of Al-Hijaz Opticals chain, stated that the prolonging of the situation would damage his business.
“The primary impact started to become clear as businessmen stopped traveling to China and were unable to follow up on the updates of their fields,” he told Arab News, adding that accelerating infection rates now threatened the movement of goods because employees in many Chinese cities were staying at home.
“I have canceled a flight in early February due to health concerns and warnings I have received from my friends,” Al-Rahman said, noting that he would suffer significant losses if the situation persisted.
Abdulrahman Al-Maliki, a ceramics, porcelain and sanitary materials importer, said that he was waiting for goods to arrive, expressing his concern at the epidemic’s spread to other major Chinese cities.
“I fear that trade exchanges will stop, become longer or more complicated. We have all these obstacles in mind and their impact will be significant. We might resort to acquiring our needs from other markets, but not before suffering losses worth millions of riyals,” said Al-Maliki. China, he added, was the largest supplier of goods to the world, saying the value of Saudi-Chinese commercial exchanges exceeded $65 billion.
Abdulrahim Al-Andijani, owner of Beit Al-Arous shops, was bullish about the future of Saudi-Chinese trade.