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Saturday, 21 Jul 2018

Saudi establishes units to probe, prosecute corruption cases.

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The decision comes after the kingdom seized more than $100bn in anti-corruption settlements in January 2017 [File: Associated Press]The decision comes after the kingdom seized more than $100bn in anti-corruption settlements in January 2017 [File: Associated Press]

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Saudi Arabia has established specialised anti-corruption units of prosecutors tasked with investigating corruption cases in the kingdom, state media reported.

The Saudi Press Agency announced King Salman's decision on Sunday.

According to the announcement, the decision came from the king's "concern over combating corruption in all its forms aiming to protect the homeland and its resources, maintain public money and protect the integrity of the public employment."

The decision comes after the kingdom seized more than $100bn in anti-corruption settlements in January.

The amount $106.7bn represented various types of assets, including real estate, commercial entities, cash and more, according to the country's chief prosecutor.

Dozens of royal family members, ministers, and top businessmen were arrested in early November during an anti-corruption crackdown launched by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The crackdown, which came about via a royal decree, was in response to "exploitation by some of the weak souls who have put their own interests above the public interest, in order to illicitly accrue money".

Allegations against those detained included money-laundering, bribery, and extorting officials. 
Most detainees have since been released after reaching financial settlements with the government.

Mahjoob Zweiri, a professor of contemporary Arab politics at Qatar University, said the purge was part of Mohammed bin Salman's plan to consolidate economic as well as political power in Saudi Arabia.

"That required destroying other economic empires in Saudi Arabia," he told Al Jazeera in January, after the release of prominent Saudi businessman Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who was among those detained.

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