Saudi banks freeze accounts of suspects detained in probe

 06 Nov 2017 - 16:41

Saudi banks freeze accounts of suspects detained in probe
A picture taken on November 5, 2017 in Riyadh shows the Kingdom Tower owned by Saudi billionaire Al-Waleed bin Talal. AFP / FAYEZ NURELDINE

Reuters

Saudi Arabian banks have begun freezing the accounts of suspects ensnared in an anti-corruption probe, banking and business sources told Reuters on Monday.
Dozens of people including royals, ministers and businessmen have been detained in an investigation by a new anti-corruption body headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The central bank ordered banks to freeze the accounts of people under investigation in the probe, the sources said, declining to be named because he was not authorised to talk to media.

Two of the sources said the number of accounts affected could run into the hundreds, but none of the sources mentioned the names of those affected.

“The freezing of accounts has already happened,” said another source. “The freezing is a precautionary measure that will end as soon as the suspects are either charged or pronounced innocent.”

A central bank spokesman was not immediately available to comment.

Eleven princes, four ministers and tens of former ministers are among those arrested, including billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, Saudi Arabia’s best-known international investor, according to Saudi officials.

The allegations against the men include money laundering, bribery, extorting officials and taking advantage of public office for personal gain, a Saudi official said.

The new anti-corruption committee has the power to seize assets at home and abroad before the results of its investigations are known.