Riyadh Ritz-Carlton corruption purge Saudi hotel reopens


A luxury Saudi hotel that was labelled a "gilded prison" for princes and leading officials held in a corruption crackdown has reopened. The first phase of the purge ended last month, with officials reaching settlement deals valued at more than $100 billion with many of those held in return for not pressing formal charges against them.

"Everything is normal", a smiling hotel employee said.

On Sunday, no trace of the hotel's prison past could be detected. This will boast an open buffet by all the hotel's restaurants with 33 live cooking stations and 700 food items and a journey between different culinary cousins around the famous palatial swimming pool.

The iconic hotel is also where President Donald Trump stayed during his May visit to the kingdom.

At the end of January the Saudi prosecutor general's office said more than $100bn (£72bn) had been recovered.

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Total settlements with the suspects had topped $107 billion in various forms of assets handed over that included property, securities and cash, he said.

National Guard chief Miteb bin Abdullah, once seen as a contender to the throne, was freed in November after agreeing an "acceptable settlement" with authorities of more than $1bn (£720m).

The detentions came following the formation of a new anti-graft body headed by the powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. And critics have accused Mohammed of making a power grab.

A Ritz-Carlton hotel that was used to hold more than 200 princes and businessmen as part of Saudi Arabia's corruption purge re-opened to the public Sunday.