Saudi defense ministry official arrested on bribery charges

RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia has arrested a defense ministry official on charges of receiving a 1 million riyal ($267,000) bribe and abusing his position, the SPA state news agency reported on Tuesday.

“The official sought to facilitate irregular procedures for the disbursement of financial dues to a company, taking advantage of his professional influence,” a statement quoted Attorney General Sheikh Saud al-Mujib as saying.

It added that the official admitted the crime of bribery and the involvement of two others in the same case, who were also arrested. No names were given.

Last November, authorities detained hundreds of top businessmen and royals in November and held them for months at the Riyadh Ritz-Carlton Hotel in a sweeping anti-corruption investigation.

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, who also serves as defense minister, told a U.S. newspaper in February the purge was like chemotherapy of “the cancer of corruption”.

Reporting by Marwa Rashad; Editing by Stephen Kalin and Andrew Roche