“On the first night, everyone was blindfolded and nearly everyone was subjected to what Egyptian intelligence calls the ‘night of the beating,’” an unnamed source with intimate knowledge of what took place told British daily newspaper the Guardian.
The source added, “People were asked if they knew why they were there. No one did. Most were beaten, some of them badly. There were people tied to the walls, in stress positions. It went on for hours, and all of those doing the torturing were Saudis.”
The “night of the beating” was apparently intended to “soften up” the detainees before the interrogators arrived to question them about corruption.
Some of the prisoners spoke of being threatened with the release of private information, such as extramarital affairs, or business dealings that would have caused great controversy.
One source said the interrogators “in fact knew very little and were winging it. They were OK on Saudi assets, but they were hopeless on the offshore stuff.”
“Often they had no idea what they were looking for. It became straight up blackmail in some cases, because some of the detainees were refusing to sign anything. There was no due process. There is no such thing in the Saudi justice system as a plea bargain, but that was what they were trying to enforce,” many of those detained said.
They told aides they were baffled why they were there. Some had been confidantes of the ultra-conservative Saudi monarchy over generations, and had enjoyed relationships with the oligarchs, who had not been shy in cultivating business leaders through access and largesse.
A senior banking source, who refused to be named, said executives across the Swiss banking sector had launched an investigation in the wake of irregular transactions at the time of the crackdowns.