“The night of the beating” … The Guardian tells the details...

The Guardian newspaper published some of what took place in the corridors of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Riyadh in November 2017, in what has come to be described as the largest, and most controversial, cleansing operation in modern Saudi history.

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, as part of an “anti-corruption campaign.”

These arrests shook the foundations of Saudi society, after untouchable institutional figures turned into targets for detention.

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 Egyptian intelligence calls“ the night of beating. ”People were asked if they knew the reason for their presence there, some of them were severely beaten and there were people bound by the walls In a position that causes fatigue for hours, “stressing that” those who committed acts of torture are of Saudi nationality. ”

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 “Vision 2030” plan. 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 most powerful families in the kingdom, then seize what they could find.”

The newspaper stated, according to its source, that the interrogators “often had no idea what they were looking for. It became outright blackmail in some cases because some of the detainees refused to sign anything.”

He added that the interrogators “were guessing the person’s net worth. At one point they asked them to contact the Geneva banking relationship managers and request large sums of money. Geneva was informing the calling detainee that there was no balance in his accounts. The investigators believed that all the assets were cash.”

The “Guardian” quoted a senior banking source, who declined to be named, that executives in the Swiss banking sector had launched an investigation following these irregular transactions, adding: “It appears that many of these transfers took place under duress. While some were stopped because the requests were not normal. ”

Some detainees reported 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, waiting 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.

Source: “Gharyan”

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