The first-ever official footage to emerge from Riyadh's Ritz Carlton, where a number of high-profile Saudi officials are currently being held on corruption charges, came in a BBC video report published on Thursday. 

The footage saw journalist Lyse Doucet, the first to be given access to the hotel by Saudi authorities, walk inside what has now become a "luxury prison."  

In the footage, Doucet is seen touring the halls of the hotel. Off camera, she was allowed to have a sit-down with one of the suspects but was told not to ask about his case.

"The world's most pampered prisoners have every comfort, except freedom," she said in her report. 

"Their mobile phones have been taken away from them, but there is a hotline that's available to them. They can call lawyers, family members, even leading members of the companies they're still trying to keep running," she added.

The journalist explained that at first, many of those arrested on November 4, thought the entire thing was "just a show," and would blow over in a matter of days. 

However, after they realized the reality of the situation, many are now considering giving back substantial amounts of money to the Saudi state in exchange for their freedom. 

Overall, 208 nationals – including leading princes, businessmen, and scholars – have been detained in the ongoing corruption probe, with seven released following interrogations. 

The arrests came as part of an anti-corruption campaign, driven by the kingdom's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Lyse Doucet Source:

The crackdown on corruption in bin Salman's own words

In a recent interview with New York Times, Mohammad bin Salman delved deep into Saudi Arabia's recent anti-corruption probe.  

The crown prince labeled claims that the crackdown was a power grab "ludicrous," and went on to explain that "many prominent members of the Ritz crowd had already publicly pledged allegiance to him and his reforms." 

He also revealed that the decision to prosecute anyone who had misused their power over the years has been long in the making. 

“Our country has suffered a lot from corruption from the 1980s until today. The calculation of our experts is that roughly 10 percent of all government spending was siphoned off by corruption each year, from the top levels to the bottom. Over the years the government launched more than one ‘war on corruption’ and they all failed. Why? Because they all started from the bottom up," he said

“My father saw that there is no way we can stay in the G-20 and grow with this level of corruption. In early 2015, one of his first orders to his team was to collect all the information about corruption — at the top. This team worked for two years until they collected the most accurate information, and then they came up with about 200 names," he added

During the interview, M.B.S. also said that when faced with overwhelming evidence held against them, 95 percent of those detained agreed to negotiate a settlement whereby they would hand over cash or business shares to the Saudi state treasury.  

Watch the full report below: