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Saudi Arabia convicts government officials, businessman and workers of bribery and fraud

The case involved a businessman who allegedly bribed government officials [Getty]

Date of publication: 20 November, 2019

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Saudi authorities have jailed 18 people found guilty of corruption charges involving the bribing of government officials.

Saudi Arabia has convicted 18 people of bribery, fraud and abuse of position, the kingdom's official SPA news agency reported on Tuesday.

Among the 18 are government employees - including an executive-level official - and private sector workers, who are facing jail sentences of up to 16 years and fines totaling 4 million riyals ($1.07 million).

The case involved a Saudi businessman who allegedly bribed officials and forged documents, according to a statement from the Saudi public prosecution.

The businessman, his employees and the government officials were all among those convicted.

Under the leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi authorities have carried out far-reaching anti-corruption drives which critics have slammed as thinly-veiled crackdowns on political opponents.

In late 2017, hundreds of prominent individuals, including businessmen, royal princes and clerics were arrested as part of a huge anti-corruption sweep.

Among those arrested was billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal - one of the kingdom's most high-profile businessmen - who reportedly secured his release from detention with a hefty financial settlement.

Prince Mohammed, who is also known as "MbS", has described the controversial crackdowns as "shock therapy", which has coincided with the detention of activists and clerics deemed a potential threat to his rule.

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