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WikiLeaks: Riyadh offered flights to Saudi students to escape cheating scandal at US school

FILE - In this Aug. 26, 2003 file photo, a worker guides the new Montana Tech archway into place above Park Street in Butte, Mont. A group of Saudi students caught up in a cheating scandal at the college were secretly offered flights home by the kingdom’s diplomats to avoid the possibility of arrest, according to a cache of embassy memos recently published by WikiLeaks and a senior official at the school. (Lisa Hornstein/The Montana Standard via AP, File)

FILE - In this Aug. 26, 2003 file photo, a worker guides the new Montana Tech archway into place above Park Street in Butte, Mont. A group of Saudi students caught up in a cheating scandal at the college were secretly offered flights home by the kingdom’s diplomats to avoid the possibility of arrest, according to a cache of embassy memos recently published by WikiLeaks and a senior official at the school. (Lisa Hornstein/The Montana Standard via AP, File)  (The Associated Press)

Documents published by WikiLeaks show that Saudi students caught up in a cheating scandal at a Montana college were secretly offered flights home by the kingdom's diplomats to avoid possible arrest or deportation.

A senior official at the school involved confirmed the story to The Associated Press on Sunday.

The students were in a ring of roughly 30 alleged cheaters at Montana Tech accused of enlisting a college employee to systematically forge their grades in return for "gifts."

The cheating was first disclosed in 2012, but a Saudi Embassy memo now shows that officials booked flights for the students "so they don't face jail or deportation by the American authorities."

Montana Tech official Douglas Abbott told the AP that the college voluntarily disclosed the cheating ring and has acted transparently.