Saudi royals tackling corruption, or just cashing in on foes?

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The chances of Saudi Arabia choosing either London or NY as the destination for a massive stock market listing of oil giant Saudi Aramco, may be fading.

According to the newspaper, the 17 detainees were hospitalised after facing abuse, while one Saudi general died in custody.

Most have since been released but they are hardly free.

The former detainees were quoted by the newspaper as saying that numerous released are being forced to wear tracking devices on their ankles.

Relatives of some of the detainees said they were deprived of sleep, roughed up and interrogated with their heads covered while the government pressured them to sign over large assets.

The sources, wishing to remain unnamed, said their Saudi counterparts had warned them about the delay, adding that the worldwide listing could happen even later.

The announcement comes as a New York Times report has suggested that numerous assets of the 381 princes, ministers and tycoons have yet to be seized while more than a dozen of the detainees were abused while they were held.

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A final decision will be made by Mohammed bin Salman, who oversees the kingdom's economic and oil policies. Gen. Ali al-Qahtani, said that his neck was twisted unnaturally as though it had been broken, and that his body was badly bruised and distended. His skin showed other signs of physical abuse.

"A doctor and two other people briefed on the condition of the body said that it had burn marks that appeared to be from electric shocks", the newspaper said.

The government on Sunday said Saudi King Salman had ordered the creation of specialised anti-corruption units in the public prosecutor's office to investigate and prosecute graft cases.

President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed has sent a cable of condolences to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, on the death of Prince Bandar bin Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

General Qahtani was a top aide to Prince Turki bin Abdullah, a son of the late King Abdullah and a former governor of Riyadh.

Based on the assumption that another US$100 billion would be added through an Aramco initial public offering, the kingdom's weighting would rise to about four per cent, which would be bigger than Russia's weighting of 3.4 per cent, for example.

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