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Energy

UPDATE 1-Saudi sacks officials suspected of corruption at tourism projects

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CAIRO, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia sacked a number of officials at tourism projects, including the historic northwestern site al-Ula and Red Sea mega-projects on suspicion of corruption, state news agency SPA reported early on Friday, citing a royal decree.

The investigation focuses on whether the officials facilitated the encroachment of lands that belong to these projects, SPA reported.

The sacked officials include the governors of Umluj and Al Wajh, coastal cities in the north of the kingdom, the head of border security and officials at the interior ministry and other government entities.

They are under investigation by an anti-corruption authority, suspected of facilitating encroachment of more than 5,000 land plots at the Red Sea mega-project and dozens of plots at the historic city of Al Ula and the Al Souda project in the southwestern city of Abha.

Scores of the kingdom’s economic and political elite were detained in 2017 at Riyadh’s Ritz-Carlton hotel in a corruption crackdown that unsettled some foreign investors.

The royal court said last year it was winding down that campaign after 15 months, but the authorities later said they would start going after graft by ordinary government employees. (Reporting by Samar Hassan; Writing by Marwa Rashad; Editing by Tom Hogue and William Mallard)

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