Saudi general 'may have been tortured to death'

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Saudi Arabia is understood to be close to entering a recession after the country spent a third of its reserves in the last three years following a drop in oil prices.

The newspaper said at least 17 detainees were hospitalised after facing abuse, while a Saudi general later died in custody with what witnesses said appeared to be a broken neck.

Most of those detained were released after several months.

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 article, published on Sunday, said.

"I would guess it is about evens that there will be no global IPO", said a high-level source familiar with the preparations, saying they were proving to be a disappointment.

In an email to the New York Times, the Saudi government denied accusations of physical abuse as "absolutely untrue".

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Evidence of such abuse has been slow to emerge, but officials from two western governments said they deemed the reports credible. One person who saw the corpse of the officer, Maj.

On the other hand, nothing is certain, as Crown Prince Mohammed favors NY and hopes US legislators will offer the Kingdom regulatory concession to make that listing possible. France and Britain are the other two countries that he is visiting.

Major General Ali al-Qahtani, a top aide to a son of the late King Abdullah, was among those held.

Abuse of power, nepotism and the use of middlemen, wasta, to do business are common, it says, suggesting that business practices in Saudi Arabia need to fundamentally change if corruption is to be eradicated, particularly given the overlap between business and politics.

In November, Gen. Qahtani was taken to an elite hospital near the hotel for radiological scans and other treatment, where he showed signs of having been beaten, according to a doctor briefed on his condition.

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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