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Manama: None of the seven individuals released following days of anti-graft investigations in Saudi Arabia is a prince or a minister, Saudi daily Okaz reported on Friday, citing well-informed sources.

Attorney General Saud Al Mojeb late on Thursday said that 208 people had been arrested in a massive anti-corruption drive launched on Saturday hours after the formation of an anti-graft committee headed by Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud.

However, seven were later released for lack of sufficient evidence against them, he added.

Social media

Lists were immediately circulated on social media with names of the seven people.

But the authorities dismissed the various lists, stressing that no personal details about the 201 individuals in custody or the seven who were released would be divulged pending the investigations.

Around $100 billion have been misused through corruption, embezzlement and financial irregularities, Al Mojeb said.

Initial reports said that 11 princes and several ministers and leading businessmen were among those who were arrested.

Decades-long practices

“The financial value of these decades-long practices and misappropriated and unused public funds, may exceed $ 100 billion, according to preliminary investigations,” Shaikh Saud Al Mojeb said in a statement late on Thursday.

However, the Attorney General said that despite the speculations worldwide about the identity of the suspects and the nature of the charges levelled against them, the Saudi authorities will not reveal any personal details at this stage to ensure that their legal rights are not breached in any way and preserved as stipulated by the Saudi laws. “We call for the respect of their privacy as they go through the legal process,” he said.

Business activities proceeding normally

Al Mojed added that business activities were proceeding normally in the Saudi kingdom and that they would not be affected by the investigations.

“Only personal bank accounts have been suspended and companies and banks have the freedom to continue transactions and transfers as usual as the official authorities in the Kingdom had pointed out and reiterated,” he said.

“The work of the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, under the leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz and His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, is within a clear legal and institutional framework that maintains transparency and integrity in the Saudi market.”