Riyadh: 'billion dollar settlement’ to release a prince accused of corruption

According to an official source he paid a settlement of over one billion dollars for his release. He also reportedly admitted he is "guilty" as charged . Other Saudi personalities targeted in the anti-corruption raid released by paying large sums of money. The internal power struggle and the risk of serious repercussions on oil prices.

Riyadh (AsiaNews / Agencies) - After three weeks of detention following on charges of corruption, the Saudi authorities have released Prince Miteb bin Abdullah. Formerly among the claimants to the throne, he was released following a "acceptable settlement agreemen" of just over a billion dollars. " It is understood - reveals an official source speaking on condition of anonymity - that the settlement included admitting corruption involving known cases."

The 64-year-old Miteb is one of over 200 prominent personalities in Saudi Arabian politics and business, arrested on November 4, in the context of a massive anti-corruption campaign launched by hereditary prince Mohammed bin Salman (Mbs). Cousin of Mbs and former leader of the Elite Guard Corps, he was the most influential political victim of the arrests ordered by the hereditary prince.

Three other people are believed to have reached an agreement - in cash, confirming that the true objective of the young Saudi leader was to impoverish "rival" families - with the Saudi government. The Saudi public prosecutor also ordered the release of other arrested personalities and the referral of five people, without revealing their identity.

Princes, ministers, and industrialists are among the hundreds of people arrested early in the month and detained in a luxury hotel in the capital, in a sort of "golden prison". At the same time, the authorities have ordered the requisition of their private aircraft and the freezing of bank deposits.

Corruption offenses are among the most common in the Saudi kingdom and have long ago become part of the business world in the most important oil producing country in the world. The Saudi prince Mbs - with the support of the 81 year old King and his father Salman - launched a reform campaign that includes, among other things, a reduction of dependence on oil and the fight against corruption. However, according to critics the fight against corruption is just a pretext for eliminating rivals - resetting the resources of some of the wealthiest men in the country - and other potential threats to the throne.

The population approve of the fight against corruption, from a future perspective of the redistribution of wealth. Indeed, the internal power struggle is likely to have a reflection on the economy and, in particular, on oil prices in the medium term. Analysts and experts speak of a "latent war" in place in the country for power control, which could trigger an exponential growth of crude oil, internal disorder and serious damage to the economy with repercussions  throughout the Middle East region.