Saudi crown prince shocks kingdom with arrests

06 November, 2017, 02:06 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • Saudi Arabia

Billionaire investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is among those detained, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Alwaleed is among 11 princes and 38 current or former senior Saudi officials who have reportedly been detained as part of an alleged anti-corruption purge.

Kingdom Holding's chief executive, listed on its website as Talal Ibrahim al-Maiman, has received the support of the government, and would continue to operate "business as usual", the investment firm said in a stock market statement.

"As a leader who is set to remain in power for decades, Mohammed bin Salman is remaking the kingdom in his own image and signalling a potentially significant move away from the consensual balancing of competing interests that characterised Saudi rule in the past", Mr Ulrichsen said.

Prince Alwaleed's father was the kingdom's finance minister during the 1960s.

Shortly before the arrests, King Salman had ousted Prince Miteb bin Abdullah from his post as head of the National Guard in a series of high-profile sackings that sent shock waves through the oil-rich Gulf country. The 62-year-old is one of the largest shareholders in Citigroup and also owns stakes in News Corp and Twitter.


Saudi Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman in Moscow's Kremlin, Russia, May 30, 2017. Phone lines to the hotel have been cut off since Sunday morning.

Saudi officials described Saturday's arrests as the result of an investigation by a newly created anti-corruption committee.

The committee is also trying to find out how the state agencies handled the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus which has claimed hundreds of lives in the past few years.

Al-Arabiya said that the anti-corruption committee had the right to investigate, arrest, ban from travel or freeze the assets of anyone it deemed corrupt.

Meanwhile, the kingdom's top council of clerics issued a statement saying it is an Islamic duty to fight corruption - essentially giving religious backing to the high-level arrests being reported.

He said the Saudi Arabian leadership is "keen to protect public money and eradicate corruption, which hampers the economy and society", adding the decree was a "clear message" that no one can escape justice if they are proven to be involved in corruption.

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