Inside Saudi Arabia’s gilded prison at Riyadh Ritz-Carlton

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SHAFAQNA – The BBC was granted a rare access to the five-star Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh, where dozens of Saudi elites have been held.

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.

According to the BBC, 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 realized they were not being allowed to leave, they became furious.

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

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, according to the report.

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

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.

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