Saudi Prince Released After $1 Billion Settlement, Official Says

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Saudi Arabia has released Prince Mutaib bin Abdullah, who was detained three weeks ago in an anti-corruption crackdown, an associate of the royal family and a U.S. official tracking the events each said.

Prince Miteb, once seen as a contender to the throne, was freed on Tuesday after agreeing to an "acceptable settlement" with authorities of more than $1 billion, the BBC reported.

"It is understood that the settlement included admitting corruption involving known cases."

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"The Government of Saudi Arabia, under the leadership of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is working within a clear legal and institutional framework to maintain transparency and integrity in the market", Attorney General Sheikh Saud Al Mojeb said in a statement on November 9.

Prince Miteb was one of the most prominent of the high profile officials detained.

Saudi authorities have yet to confirm the news. The official gave no details on their identities.

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Prince Miteb was minister of the National Guard, an elite security force with 100,000 personnel that is tasked with protecting royal leaders, but was sacked hours before his detention. Relatives, his lawyer and officials in his office could not be contacted to comment. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/File PhotoThe official said Miteb, in his deal with the government, had admitted corruption.

Reuters reported that Moaid Mahjoob, who identifies himself as director of external relations for Princess Jawahar Al Saud, said Prince Miteb "had been released and that he was at his home in Riyadh".

The arrests of royals and top businessmen have been welcomed by many Saudis who are frustrated by corruption, but the crackdown is also seen by many people as a pre-emptive step by Prince Mohammed to remove any possible challenge to his control over the world's top oil exporting country. In September, religious and intellectual critics of the government were jailed.

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