Riyadh Ritz-Carlton hotel reopens to guests after corruption purge nets $100bn

Monday, 12 Feb, 2018

A Ritz-Carlton hotel that was used to hold more than 200 princes and businessmen as part of Saudi Arabia's corruption purge re-opened to the public Sunday.

The reasoning behind the purge was murky.

The attorney general has said the government had arranged to seize more than $106bn (£76bn) through such agreements but there has been no official confirmation of this. According to him, 159 people were detained. And critics have accused Mohammed of making a power grab.

Prince Alwaleed maintained his innocence in an interview hours before his release which was triggered when he agreed to an undisclosed financial settlement.

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a billionaire businessman of worldwide renown, who also happens to be Prince Mohammed's cousin, was among those who reportedly settled. The opulent hotel, originally built for guests of the royal family, is a far cry from a gritty prison cell - boasting instead majestic suites and pastelhued hallways awash with bronze statues and glittering chandeliers.

Some Western media outlets had reported that the hotel would resume normal operations on February 14, while others had accurately what the hotel now officially confirmed that the date will be tomorrow.

Attorney General Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb said in late January that after completing inquiries into 381 high-profile corruption suspects, he would keep 56 in custody and free the rest.

Some reports said the remaining detainees had been moved from the Ritz-Carlton to a prison, meaning there were no prisoners remaining in the hotel. Reuters says it is believed they have been moved to actual prison for refusing to admit wrongdoing and may end up in court.