Why are the Ritz detainees being released after settlement

Saudi authorities, who estimate they could eventually recover around $100 billion of illicit funds, have been working on reaching agreements with suspects detained at the Ritz Carlton hotel. (AP)

The release of the detainees in Saudi Arabia has so far raised some questions over why they are being freed without trial.

Renowned commentator Turki Al-Hamad were among those wondering about the fate of the detainees.

“It’s a good question,” wrote Abdul Rahman al-Lahem in Okaz newspaper, stating that It is not possible to compare commonplace theft crimes to very complex financial corruption offenses, and it requires flexibility in the process to serve the public interest and the public treasury with hundreds of millions, which may have been siphoned off outside the kingdom and would be difficult to recover or trace without the cooperation of the accused.

Lahem adds: “The benefit to the public treasury outweighs the interest of imprisoning a person. The community will benefit little from his imprisonment after a long trial that may not result in conviction, because such cases are complex in terms of evidence and proof. This does not necessarily discount the validity of a trial, but there is a parallel road that may benefit the community and the state more than indictment and trial.”

Law experts are of the opinion that trials could extend up to 10 years and the convictions are not guaranteed.

It is well known that many countries resort to this method in such cases and the most prominent example of this is the United States during financial crises.

Many European and Arab countries also allow those involved in embezzlement, corruption and smuggling cases to cut deals in the course of serving the needs of justice. 

ALSO READ: Saudi Crown Prince to head new committee to combat corruption

It is worth noting that the Supreme Committee formed by the Saudi royal order and presided over by the Crown Prince to investigate corruption cases is exempt from all relevant regulations and has wide freedom of jurisdiction and decision making in the public interest. It is a non-traditional committee investigating unconventional crimes by unconventional means and mechanisms. 

Four acquitted, five to go on trial 

Media outlets quoted a Saudi official as saying that at least four people, from the list of the princes, businessmen and officials who are under investigation at the Riyadh’s luxurious Ritz Carlton hotel over corruption cases, have been acquitted.

These are in addition to seven others who have been cleared to leave the hotel, according to a statement from the general prosecutor, earlier this month.

Saudi authorities, who estimate they could eventually recover around $100 billion of illicit funds, have been working on reaching agreements with suspects detained at the hotel, asking them to hand over assets and cash in return for their freedom, according to reports.

On Wednesday, Reuters quoted the Saudi official as saying that at least four other suspects had finalized settlement agreements and that the public prosecutor had decided to release several individuals.

The prosecutor has decided to put at least five people on trial, the official said without disclosing their identities.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:50 - GMT 06:50
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