Top Saudi official: Secretive corruption crackdown was "efficient"

Top Saudi official on anti-corruption arrests

We're learning new details about what Saudi Arabia's government calls its crackdown on corruption. The Saudi king recently established a special anti-corruption unit and last November Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman led a crackdown that detained Saudi princes, businessmen and former government officials at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in the capital, Riyadh.

"CBS This Morning" co-host Norah O'Donnell recently visited Saudi Arabia for this Sunday's "60 Minutes," and got a rare interview with the powerful crown prince. She also spoke with one of his top advisers, Mohammed al-Shaikh, who was closely involved in what happened at the Ritz. 

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NORAH O'DONNELL: What happened at The Ritz?

MOHAMMED AL-SHAIKH: Anti-corruption crackdown was very simple. We had a serious problem with corruption….The crown prince actually spoke about it a couple of times publicly and said, "We have a real problem." And given the structure of some of these corruption cases….We were worried that if we started processing people one at a time, that some of the money might be siphoned out of the kingdom, that it would have a severe negative impact on the country and the economy. We had to do what we did at The Ritz.

O'DONNELL: For foreigners who live in a democracy where there are charges filed, there's due process, there's a trial, could they look at this and say, "Hmm, I'll take my money elsewhere?"

MOHAMMED AL-SHAIKH: But even in democracies where there is due process, there is trial, there's also settlement procedures. And a lot of people do go through these settlement procedures.

O'DONNELL: Were you surprised it took as long as it did? Because there --The Ritz was closed for a while.

MOHAMMED AL-SHAIKH: Given the magnitude and, and, and the size of what happened I actually think it was an accomplishment that it happened so quickly and that it was dealt with in a – in, what I believe, a very efficient manner.


For the full report, tune in to "60 Minutes" on Sunday, March 18 at 7 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.    

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