The British newspaper Al-Ghadrian published a report about what happened in the corridors of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Riyadh, in which a large number of Saudi personalities were arrested in early November 2017, in what has become described as the largest and most controversial purge in the modern history of the Kingdom.
The publication of this report comes on the eve of the G20 summit, which is hypothetically hosted by Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi authorities had arrested nearly 400 of the most powerful figures in Saudi Arabia, including princes, senior businessmen and ministers, and detained them in the luxury hotel, as part of an anti-corruption campaign..
In early November 2017, the authorities in Saudi Arabia arrested nearly 400 of the kingdom's most powerful figures, including princes, business leaders and ministers, and detained them at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, as part of an "anti-corruption campaign“.
These arrests shook the foundations of Saudi society, after untouchable institutional figures turned into targets for arrest..
The newspaper quoted a source familiar with what happened, saying that "on the first night everyone was blindfolded and almost everyone was exposed to what the Egyptian intelligence calls" the night of the beating. " People were asked if they knew the reason for their presence there. Some of them were severely beaten and there were people tied to the walls, in a position that causes fatigue for hours.“.
The source pointed out that after the passage of time, the detainees were separated into rooms in the hotel, which a year ago was the place to launch Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's plan "Vision 2030". And all of this was done under the supervision of two ministers close to bin Salman, who ordered the purge.
The detainees say that the royal court’s advisors were leading “chaotic attempts to understand the investments behind the wealth of the kingdom's most powerful families, and then seize what they could find.”“.
The newspaper stated, according to its source, that the investigators “often had no idea what they were looking for. And it became outright blackmail in some cases because some of the detainees refused to sign anything“.
"They were guessing a person's net worth," he added. At one point they asked them to call their relationship managers in Geneva and ask for large sums of money. Geneva was informing the calling detainee that there was no balance in his accounts. Investigators believed that all of the assets were cash“.
The "Guardian" quoted a senior banking source, who declined to be named, that executives in the Swiss banking sector have launched an investigation following these irregular transactions, adding: "It appears that many of these transfers were carried out under duress." While some were stopped because requests were not normal“.
Some of the detainees spoke of being threatened with the aim of providing private information, such as relationships outside marriage or commercial dealings that were not approved even under the old regime..
According to the "Guardian", the arrests often began with a phone call to summon those involved, in a request to meet the Crown Prince or King Salman himself..
Two prominent businessmen said he asked them to meet in a house, and to wait for an advisor from the royal court to join them. Instead, state security officials showed up, and took them to the Ritz.
The source revealed that the amount of money collected following the arrests is close to 28 billion dollars.