Saudi Minister of Commerce and Investment Majid Al-Qasabi said that the Kingdom had completed the first stage of its anti-corruption campaign through which it is recouping billions of dollars, Huff Post reported yesterday.
He said that the money to be returned would be invested in big development projects that would fulfil the needs of the Saudis because it is originally theirs.
Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman ordered the detention of more than 200 princes and businessmen in Saudi Arabia and froze more than 2,000 bank accounts in what he claimed to be an attack on corruption.
A number of the detained will appear in court, however the Kingdom is trying to reach deals with them in which they relinquish 70 per cent of their assets in return for their freedom.
Saudi officials said last week that Prince Miteb Bin Abdulaziz was released after he pledged to pay $1 billion.
During a visit to Washington, Al-Qasabi said that the Kingdom had opened a special bank account to receive between $50 and $100 billion from the prisoners.
He also said that the Public Prosecutor is expected to issue a statement within days to clarify the investigation mechanisms, the number of detainees and the charges against them.
Saudi is seeking to attract foreign investment to decrease its dependence on oil. Therefore, it is carrying out a large package of economic reforms that would include privatisation of state assets worth up to $300 billion.
The decline of oil prices during the past two years harmed the Saudi economy and pushed the government to announce austerity measures including plans to float the world’s largest oil company, Saudi Aramco.