World Economy

Saudi King orders protection for whistleblowers reporting financial corruption

Shafi Musaddique
Key Points
  • King Salman orders protection for employees that report financial and corporate corruption
  • Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has pushed an anti-corruption campaign since last year
Saudi Arabia's King Salman
Yuri Kadobnov | Reuters

Saudi Arabia's King Salman has ordered protection for financial and corporate whistleblowers as part of an anti-corruption drive in the country.

Saudi-run broadcaster Al Arabiya reported Sunday that the king's decree will shield employees from a "violation of their privileges or rights."

Dr Khalid Al Muhaisen, head of Saudi Arabia's anti-corruption commission, told Al Arabiya that the kingdom wants to "protect the interests of citizens and residents who do their duty to report cases of corruption, and ensure that they are not harmed by the submission of communications".

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, King Salman's eldest son by his third wife, has pushed an anti-corruption campaign since last year when members of Saudi Arabia's business and political elite were rounded up and detained at the Ritz in November.

The luxury hotel in Riyadh was used to house and question over 300 princes, ministers and businessmen, including global investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.

According to Reuters, the purge generated more than $100 billion in financial settlements for the Saudi government.

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Fifty-six people who failed to reach settlements remain in custody, although the Ritz was reopened to the public in February.

Effective power is in the hands of the 32-year-old Saudi crown prince, as he looks to wean the country off its dependency on oil.

Bin Salman is widely expected to try and encourage American investors to put money into the kingdom, while also looking to promote his plans to enact sweeping economic and social reforms in Riyadh.

Bin Salman said in March that "only death" can prevent him from ruling over the kingdom for years to come.