RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA—Last Saturday, approximately 17 Saudi princes and government officials were arrested after King Salman bin Abdul Aziz ordered what is being called an anti-corruption purge.
Today, there are numerous reports suggesting these individuals are being held atThe Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh and the hotel has been taken over for government use related to the arrests.
A spokesperson for Marriott International, The Ritz-Carlton’s parent company, wouldn’t confirm or deny that the hotel is being used as a detention center.
“As a matter of guest privacy, we do not discuss the guests or groups with whom we do business or who may be visitors of the hotel,” the Marriott spokesperson said.
One of the detainees is believed to be Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a businessman and hotel investor whose company, Kingdom Holding Co., is co-owner of New York’s The Plaza Hotel and Four Seasons Hotels Ltd.
A high-level employee at Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s company confirmed to the Associated Press that he is among those detained. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal could be facing allegations of money laundering, bribery and extorting officials, according to Reuters.
The hotel’s website shows the 492-room hotel in the Saudi capital as completely unavailable to book until February 2018, and it notes that hotel phone lines are currently disconnected. The hotel’s duty manager reached on a mobile number said the hotel was closed and had no further information, according to a Bloomberg report.
A Saudi official told The Associated Press that other five-star hotels across the capital were also being used to hold some of those arrested.