More than $100 billion in Saudi funds may have been misused, leading to the detention of 201 individuals in the kingdom, according to Attorney General Saud Al Mojeb.
“The financial value of these decades-long practices and misappropriated and unused public funds may exceed $100 billion, according to preliminary investigations," Al Mojeb said on Thursday, Gulf News reported.
Overall, 208 nationals – including leading princes, businessmen, and scholars – have been detained in the ongoing corruption probe, with seven released following interrogations.
The revelations about the scale of the kingdom's corruption probe come less than a week after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched a new anti-corruption committee, vowing that nobody involved with corruption would be spared as investigations move forward.
"Nobody is above the law," the crown prince reportedly said, according to the Saudi Gazette.
Among those arrested, 11 princes and 38 officials and businessmen were reportedly detained almost immediately following the anti-corruption committee's official establishment. Reportedly, they are being housed at the luxurious Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh.
Among those detained is billionaire Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, an international businessman who is known as "the richest Arab."
Speculation has also been mounting that billionaire Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who also holds a Saudi nationality, is among those detained. Hariri announced his resignation in Riyadh on Saturday, in a move that shocked even his close political allies.
Since then, leaders in Lebanon, from across the political spectrum, have called for his immediate return to the country, but he has more or less disappeared from public view. However, Saudi Arabia has officially said he is free to leave whenever he wants.
The kingdom's attorney general said that personal details about those detained and the charges against them will not be revealed at this time, in an effort to protect their legal rights.
"We call for the respect of their privacy as they go through the legal process," Al Mojeb said.
As there has been much concern for how the detention of so many prominent business leaders will affect the economy, Al Mojeb reassured that business is moving forward normally.
"Only personal bank accounts have been suspended and companies and banks have the freedom to continue transactions and transfers as usual as the official authorities in the Kingdom had pointed out and reiterated," he said.
Al Mojeb also said that the recent moves are within a "clear legal and institutional framework that maintains transparency and integrity in the Saudi market," according to Arab News.