Saudi Arabia arrests 11 princes in anti-corruption sweep

Posted November 06, 2017

Hours before landing in Japan, the first stop of his 12-day Asia trip, the president tweeted his support for a US 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".

The prince was the son of Muqrin bin Abdulaziz Al Saud - who was the crown prince of Saudi Arabia from January to April in 2015.

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.

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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.

Saudi Arabia's future king tightened his grip on power on Sunday through an anti-corruption purge by arresting royals, ministers and investors including billionaire Alwaleed bin Talal who is one of the kingdom's most prominent businessmen.

The committee was established by the royal decree, The Associated Press reports, "due to the propensity of some people for abuse, putting their personal interest above public interest, and stealing public funds".

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The purge against the kingdom's political and business elite also targeted the head of the National Guard Prince Miteb bin Abdullah who was detained and replaced as minister of the powerful National Guard by Prince Khaled bin Ayyaf. It also sends a message that the crown prince has the full backing of his father, King Salman, to carry out sweeping anti-corruption reforms targeting senior royals and their business associates, who have always been seen as operating above the law.

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.

The Saudi monarch relieved Minister of Economy and Planning Adel bin Mohammed Faqih and replaced him by Mohammed bin Mazid Al-Tuweijari.

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Among those taken into custody overnight Saturday were billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, one of the world's richest men with extensive holdings in Western companies, as well as two of the late King Abdullah's sons. Fakeih with his deputy, Mohammad al-Tuwaijri.