11 princes and dozens of former ministers were detained in a new anti-corruption probe in Saudi Arabia. Among those detained include prominent billionaire investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal,National Guard Minister Miteb bin Abdullah, and Economy and Planning Minister Adel Fakeih.
Prince Alwaleed is known to be owning or having owned major stakes in News Corp, Citigroup, Twitter and many other well-known companies. The prince also controls satellite television networks watched across the Arab world .
The Commander of the Navy, Adm. Abdullah Al-Sultan, was relieved of his position and replaced by Fahad Al-Ghofaili, who is promoted to the rank of Admiral.
In what is seen as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman moved to consolidate his power, Saudi Arabia’s stock market fell in early trade on Sunday after news of crack down spread. Prince Miteb was the last remaining member of Abdullah’s branch of the family to hold a position in the upper echelons of the Saudi power structure. It comes just three months after Prince Mohammed bin Nayef was ousted from the line of succession and from his post as Interior Minister, overseeing internal security. With the two princes now sidelined, control of the kingdom’s security apparatus is now largely centralised under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is also Defence Minister.
The official line is that the purge was in response to corrupt practices by the accused and that the anti-corruption committee has the right to issue arrest warrants, impose travel restrictions and freeze bank accounts. It is also empowered to investigate financials and freeze assets until cases are decided on.The Royal proclamation further said “due to the propensity of some people for abuse, putting their personal interest above public interest, and stealing public funds.”