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Saudi tycoon Al-Waleed bin Talal among royals arrested in anti-corruption sting: reports Open in fullscreen

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Saudi tycoon Al-Waleed bin Talal among royals arrested in anti-corruption sting: reports

Businessman Al-Waleed bin Talal is reportedly among those arrested in Saudi Arabia on Saturday [Getty]

Date of publication: 5 November, 2017

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Saudi tycoon Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal is reportedly among those arrested after authorities launched an anti-corruption commission and ordered a series of high-profile cabinet sackings.
Influential businessman Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal is reportedly among royals arrested in Saudi Arabia on Saturday, hours after the launch of a corruption-fighting commission.

The billionaire, whose company owns holdings in Twitter, News Corps and Citigroup, is reportedly facing corruption charges, Saudi media reported, but there was no official confirmation. The prince, who is also primary owner of TV network Rotana, was not immediately reachable for comment.

Earlier state-owned broadcaster Al Arabiya TV reported 10 princes and dozens of former government ministers has been arrested in an anti-corruption sting.

An aviation source told AFP that security forces had grounded private jets in the Red Sea city of Jeddah, potentially to prevent any high-profile figures from leaving.

"The breadth and scale of the arrests appears to be unprecedented in modern Saudi history," said Kristian Ulrichsen, a fellow at the Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University.

"The reported detention of Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, if true, would send shockwaves through the domestic and international business community."

Separately, the powerful heads of the Saudi National Guard, an elite internal security force, and the navy were replaced in a series of high-profile sackings that sent shockwaves in the kingdom.

The arrests come less than two weeks after Prince Mohammed welcomed thousands of global business titans to Riyadh for an investment summit, showcasing his economic reform drive for a post-oil era.

The 32-year-old crown prince, often known as MbS, has projected himself as a liberal reformer in the ultra-conservative kingdom with a series of bold moves including the decision allowing women to drive from next June.

Already viewed as the de facto ruler controlling all the major levers of government, from defence to the economy, the prince is widely seen to be stamping out traces of internal dissent before a formal transfer of power from his 81-year-old father King Salman.

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