Joel Muckett 7 Nov 2017 09:29am

Princes arrested in Saudi anti-corruption probe

Eleven princes, four ministers and dozens of investors have been detained as part of a crackdown on corruption in Saudi Arabia

The swathe of arrests came after King Salman ordered the creation of an anti-corruption committee on Saturday, chaired by his son, crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to Reuters.

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the chairman and CEO of Kingdom Holding Company and an investor in Citigroup and Twitter, was one of those detained. He faces allegations of money laundering, bribery and extorting officials.

Additionally, Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, once believed to be a contender for the throne, was also arrested on charges of embezzlement, hiring ghost employees and awarding contracts to his own company.

Prince Miteb allegedly awarded a contract worth $10bn (£7.6bn) to his own company for walkie-talkies and bulletproof military gear.

Others arrested included former finance minister Ibrahim al-Assaf, economic minister Adel Fakeih and Riyadh governor Prince Turki bin Abdullah.

Officials and businessmen were also arrested as part of the anti-corruption purge, including Alwaleed al-Ibrahim, the chairman of the Middle East Broadcasting Center (MBC) and Khalid al-Mulheim, former director general of Saudi Arabian Airlines.

Authorities in the kingdom have frozen the bank accounts of the suspects detained on corruption charges, according to Saudi-owned news organisation Al Arabiya.

The new anti-corruption committee has been given a variety of powers including the ability to investigate cases, issue arrest warrants and travel restrictions, and seize assets.

Analysts said the arrests may have been an attempt to increase the crown prince’s influence and remove powerful figures such as Prince Miteb as prince Salman edges closer to becoming king.

Frustrations have become present in the Al Saud dynasty as a result of prince Salman’s surge to power, as he has become the key decision-maker for military, foreign, economic and social policies within the kingdom.