Ibrahim Al-Assaf, Saudi’s Minister of State, attends a meeting at the Cabinet after he his release on 02 January 2018—Egypt Today
CAIRO - 3 January 2017: Ibrahim Al-Assaf, the Saudi Minister of State, reassumed his duties at the Saudi Cabinet after being proven innocent of corruption charges, reported the Sabq Saudi newspaper.
Al-Assaf’s attendance at his first meeting at the Saudi Cabinet on Tuesday came as a reflection of a wise Saudi leadership that administers justice. Like other Saudi nationals abiding by law, the Saudi minister was imprisoned directly after he was charged with corruption and was not released before an investigation was conducted and the charges dropped. Again, Al-Assaf runs in office on the side of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and the Crown Prince in the Council of Ministers.
The former finance minister and board member of national oil giant Aramco was among other high-profile individuals who were detained and held under investigation by a new anti-corruption body last November. Al-Assaf was released from the Ritz Carlton Hotel last month after being cleared of any wrongdoing, without making any payment or fines to the state.
Saudi Arabia launched an unprecedented anti-corruption purge that included detaining royal family members, senior officials, prominent billionaires and businessmen, including investment tycoons like Al-Waleed bin Talal and Sheikh Saleh Kamel, two of the Kingdom’s top investors in Egypt.
In a crackdown on corruption, Saudi security forces rounded up about 200 princes, ministers, business leaders and converted the Ritz-Carlton into a luxurious prison for them in early November.
Some analysts deemed the move as helping Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman consolidate his grip on power after he ousted his cousin as heir to the throne in the summer.
In this context, the suspects have been held at Riyadh’s luxurious Ritz Carlton hotel since early November and were told to hand over assets and cash in exchange for their freedom. Saudi Arabia has released 23 of the 200 powerful individuals detained since November on corruption charges after they reached deals with the government.
Saudi authorities consider the settlements not as blackmail, but as an obligation to reimburse money taken illegally from the world’s top oil producer over several decades.