Saudi authorities detained one of the Kingdom’s most prominent businessmen and the head of the National Guard in a sweeping anti-corruption inquiry that gives Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman more authority.
Billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who owns investment firm Kingdom Holding, was among 11 princes, four ministers and tens of former ministers detained, two senior Saudi officials told Reuters on Sunday.
A top security official, Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, was detained and replaced as minister of the powerful National Guard by Prince Khaled bin Ayyaf, consolidating Prince Mohammed’s control of security institutions which had previously been headed by separate branches of the ruling family.
News of the purge came in the early hours of Sunday after the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, decreed the creation of a new anti-corruption committee chaired by his son Prince Mohammed, who has swiftly amassed power since rising from obscurity less than three years ago.
The new body was given broad powers to investigate cases, issue arrest warrants and travel restrictions and freeze assets.
“The homeland will not exist unless corruption is uprooted and the corrupt are held accountable,” the royal decree said.
Many analysts said the goal of the purge went beyond corruption and aimed to remove any potential for opposition to Prince Mohammed as he pushes an ambitious and controversial reform agenda… see more