Saudi princes, ex-ministers, arrested in major anti-corruption probe

Saudi princes, ex-ministers, arrested in major anti-corruption probe
2 min read
05 November, 2017
Saudi princes and former government ministers have been arrested hours after King Salman set up an anti-corruption committee and ordered a cabinet reshuffle, ousting senior royal family members.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is heading a newly-formed anti-corruption committee [Anadolu]

Saudi authorities on Saturday arrested 10 princes and dozens of former government ministers, state-owned broadcaster Al Arabiya reported.

The arrests came hours after ruler King Salman bin Abdul Aziz established by Royal Decree an anti corruption committee, headed by powerful Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. 

"Ten princes and dozens of former ministers have been arrested on corruption charges," Al Arabiya TV reported, quoting unnamed sources in Riyadh. 

The committee also announced that it is reopening the file of the 2009 Jeddah floods and investigating the outbreak of the Mers virus which emerged in Saudi Arabia in 2012.

The decree stated the "Committee will identify offences, crimes, persons and entities involved in cases of public corruption.

"It will investigate, issue arrest warrants, impose travel ban, disclose and freeze accounts and portfolios, track funds, assets and prevent their remittance or transfer by persons and entities."

Already viewed as the de facto ruler controlling all the major levers of government, from defence to the economy, Prince Mohammed 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, though the timing of the 32-year-old's ascension remains unknown.

Reshuffle

The corruption probe followed a major cabinet reshuffle in which the king ousted one of the country's highest-level royals from power, relieving Prince Miteb bin Abdullah of his post as head of the National Guard.

Prince Miteb was once considered a contender for the throne.

Navy commander Admiral Abdullah bin Sultan bin Mohammed Al-Sultan was also removed from his post.

The monarch also replaced Minister of Economy and Planning, Adel Fakeih, with his deputy, Mohammad al-Tuwaijri.

No official explanation was given for their removal.