Saudi crown prince tightens grip on power, arrests royals

Katrina Barker
November 6, 2017

With the two princes now sidelined, control of the kingdom's security apparatuses is now largely centralised under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is also defence minister.

Official justifications notwithstanding, the sweep was widely seen as as a move to consolidate power around Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the 32-year-old heir to the Saudi throne now occupied by his father, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

This comes in the light of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman being named as the head of a new anti-corruption committee, which is conducting probes into the disastrous floods of 2009 that wreaked havoc in Jeddah.

Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television said that "11 princes, tens of former ministers and four current ministers were arrested", but it did not disclose any names.

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

Also detained and under investigation is former Saudi finance minister Ibrahim al-Assaf, said the official, who declined to be identified under briefing rules.

The 32-year-old crown prince has been seeking to attract greater worldwide investments and improve the country's reputation as a place to do business.

Kingdom Holding did not respond to requests for comment from The National.

Hours before landing in Japan, the first stop of his 12-day Asia trip, the president tweeted his support for a USA stock listing for the world's largest oil company: "Would very much appreciate Saudi Arabia doing their IPO of Aramco with the New York Stock Exchange".

In addition to locking down bank accounts, the Saudi government said it will seize any property linked to corruption charges.

President Trump has spoken with the king of Saudi Arabia to offer a wholehearted endorsement of a drive to modernize the kingdom, as the Saudi authorities arrested scores of prominent business people and ministers in a sweeping anti-corruption crackdown. The new body was given broad powers to investigate cases, issue arrest warrants and travel restrictions, and seize assets.

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.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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