Wikileaks, the whistleblower website, has reported that Saudi Arabia offered $10 billion to Egypt for the release of former Egyptian autocrat Hosni Mubarak from prison during the rule of then-Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi.
On Friday, transparency advocate and whistleblower website “Wikileaks” began publishing over 500,000 leaked confidential Saudi documents, including communications with the Kingdom's embassies around the world.
Subsequently, the Saudi ministry of foreign affairs warned Saudi citizens worldwide against “disseminating ‘false documents’ that are intended at harming the Saudi homelands.”
Julian Assange, the co-founder and head of WikiLeaks, said the Saudi cables reveal a "dictatorial regime" which not only celebrated the beheading of 100 people this year, but has also become a threat to itself and its neighbors.
Despite criticism of the kingdom regarding the human rights situation in the country, it remains one of the closest allies of the United States. It is also the world’s biggest producer of oil, which gives it huge clout in the international arena.
One undated cable, labeled “top secret,” quotes an anonymous Egyptian official as saying that the Muslim Brotherhood would agree to release Mubarak in exchange for $10 billion "since the Egyptian people will not benefit from his imprisonment." Mubarak was ousted from the presidency during the Arab Spring of 2012-13 before being convicted of being behind the deaths of protesters and corruption.
But a handwritten note attached to the document said that paying "ransom" for Mubarak was "not a good idea" because the Brotherhood could not prevent his incarceration.
"Even if it is paid, the Muslim Brotherhood will not be able to do anything regarding releasing Mubarak," the note's unknown author writes. "It seems there are no alternatives for the president but to enter prison."
Similar allegations were made in 2012 by senior Muslim Brotherhood leader Khairat el-Shater, who said that Saudi Arabia offered billions of dollars in exchange for Mubarak’s release – a claim that Saudi officials denied at the time.
The authenticity of the leaked documents has not been confirmed, yet if proven genuine they may offer a rare view of the inner workings of the notoriously opaque kingdom.
The Saudi documents leak coincides with the third anniversary of Julian Assange receiving political asylum in Ecuador's embassy in London.
Assange sought asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in order to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over allegations that he committed sexual assaults which he has repeatedly denied.