(FILES) This file photo taken on May 21, 2017 shows the hallway of the Ritz Carlton hotel in the Saudi capital Riyadh.
Saudi Arabia said on November 9, 201 people are being held for questioning over an estimated $100 billion in embezzlement and corruption, after the biggest purge of the kingdom's elite in its modern history which also comes amid heightened regional tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The Ritz Carlton hotel in Riyadh is rumoured to be the site where many of those arrested are being held. / AFP PHOTO / GIUSEPPE CACACE
The lobby of the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh where many high-profile suspects detained in an anti-corruption sweep have been held since early November 2017. Giuseppe Cacace / AFP

Saudi VIP detainees are ready to cut a deal — BBC



As a detention centre, they surely do not come more opulent than the five-star Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh.

Within its gilded walls, 200 VIPs have been held since November 4, accused of corruption, money-laundering, bribery, extortion and abuse of their position. They are said to include 11 princes - two of them nephews of the monarch, King Salman.

Yet notwithstanding the glittering chandeliers, the in-house gym, swimming pools, bowling alley, the restaurants and the ornamental fountains, the hotel is their cage, albeit a most lavishly-appointed one. And according to the BBC, which was granted rare access to the hotel, 95 per cent of the detainees are willing to make a deal.

The BBC reports that when they were brought to the hotel three weeks ago, the VIPs were angry, but they assumed it was a stunt for show and that they would not have to stay there long. But when they realised they were not being allowed to leave - and told the reasons why - they became furious.

"Anyone accused of being a thief would be upset," a source told the BBC.

But with the passing days they have been confronted with what is apparently "substantial" evidence to back up the allegations of financial wrong-doing. And the BBC reports that most of the high-ranking detainees are proposing to pay back a "substantial" proportion of their allegedly ill-gotten gains in exchange for their freedom.

Those currently residing at the Ritz-Carlton include the billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, one of the world's richest men.

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The New York Times reported that one business tycoon was detained after being summoned back from abroad for a meeting. A billionaire was told to turn himself in or he would be picked up like a common criminal. An official was called in to discuss an attack that apparently never happened.

A special Supreme Committee for Combating Corruption is investigating all charges against the detained officials, businessmen and royal family members. Their personal bank accounts have been frozen.

The Saudi  attorney general, Sheikh Saud Al Mojeb, revealed that the arrests are the culmination of three years' work by the committee. Of the 208 originally arrested, seven have been discharged because there was a lack of evidence against them.

Despite intense speculation, the identities of those still in custody are not being revealed so that they "enjoy the full legal rights granted to them by the kingdom", said Sheikh Saud.  The two-minute BBC report does not show any detainees, only shadowy, unidentifiable figures behind frosted glass.

Ordinary Virtues: Moral Order in a Divided World by Michael Ignatieff
Harvard University Press

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Name: Raha
Started: 2022
Based: Kuwait/Saudi
Industry: Tech Logistics
Funding: $14 million
Investors: Soor Capital, eWTP Arabia Capital, Aujan Enterprises, Nox Management, Cedar Mundi Ventures
Number of employees: 166

The specs: 2019 Mercedes-Benz C200 Coupe


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Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

The specs: 2018 Ducati SuperSport S

Price, base / as tested: Dh74,900 / Dh85,900

Engine: 937cc

Transmission: Six-speed gearbox

Power: 110hp @ 9,000rpm

Torque: 93Nm @ 6,500rpm

Fuel economy, combined: 5.9L / 100km

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5pm: Wathba Stallions Cup Maiden (PA) Dh 70,000 (Dirt) 1,000m, Winner: Hazeem Al Raed, Antonio Fresu (jockey), Ahmed Al Shemaili (trainer)

5.30pm: Handicap (PA) Dh 85,000 (D) 1,000m, Winner: Ghazwan Al Khalediah, Hugo Lebouc, Helal Al Alawi

6pm: Maiden (PA) Dh 70,000 (D) 1,400m, Winner: Dinar Al Khalediah, Patrick Cosgrave, Helal Al Alawi.

6.30pm: Handicap (TB) Dh 70,000 (D) 1,600m, Winner: Faith And Fortune, Sandro Paiva, Ali Rashid Al Raihe.

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7.30pm: Handicap (PA) Dh 70,000 (D) 1,600m, Winner: AF Ramz, Saif Al Balushi, Khalifa Al Neyadi.

8pm: Maiden (PA) Dh 70,000 (D) 2,000m, Winner: AF Mass, Tadhg O’Shea, Ernst Oertel.

Results for Stage 2

Stage 2 Yas Island to Abu Dhabi, 184 km, Road race

Overall leader: Primoz Roglic SLO (Team Jumbo - Visma)

Stage winners: 1. Fernando Gaviria COL (UAE Team Emirates) 2. Elia Viviani ITA (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) 3. Caleb Ewan AUS (Lotto - Soudal)

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Key figures in the life of the fort

Sheikh Dhiyab bin Isa (ruled 1761-1793) Built Qasr Al Hosn as a watchtower to guard over the only freshwater well on Abu Dhabi island.

Sheikh Shakhbut bin Dhiyab (ruled 1793-1816) Expanded the tower into a small fort and transferred his ruling place of residence from Liwa Oasis to the fort on the island.

Sheikh Tahnoon bin Shakhbut (ruled 1818-1833) Expanded Qasr Al Hosn further as Abu Dhabi grew from a small village of palm huts to a town of more than 5,000 inhabitants.

Sheikh Khalifa bin Shakhbut (ruled 1833-1845) Repaired and fortified the fort.

Sheikh Saeed bin Tahnoon (ruled 1845-1855) Turned Qasr Al Hosn into a strong two-storied structure.

Sheikh Zayed bin Khalifa (ruled 1855-1909) Expanded Qasr Al Hosn further to reflect the emirate's increasing prominence.

Sheikh Shakhbut bin Sultan (ruled 1928-1966) Renovated and enlarged Qasr Al Hosn, adding a decorative arch and two new villas.

Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan (ruled 1966-2004) Moved the royal residence to Al Manhal palace and kept his diwan at Qasr Al Hosn.

Sources: Jayanti Maitra, www.adach.ae

The Bio

Favourite Emirati dish: I have so many because it has a lot of herbs and vegetables. Harees  (oats with chicken) is one of them

Favourite place to go to: Dubai Mall because it has lots of sports shops.

Her motivation: My performance because I know that whatever I do, if I put the effort in, I’ll get results

During her free time: I like to drink coffee - a latte no sugar and no flavours. I do not like cold drinks

Pet peeve: That with every meal they give you a fries and Pepsi. That is so unhealthy

Advice to anyone who wants to be an ironman: Go for the goal. If you are consistent, you will get there. With the first one, it might not be what they want but they should start and just do it


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