Dubai – Authorities in Saudi Arabia have arrested a number of princes and former ministers including billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal on corruption charges, a Saudi broadcaster said on Saturday, according to media reports.
One of Saudi Arabia’s most prominent businessmen and a former finance minister are among dozens detained in a probe by a new anti-corruption body, a senior Saudi official said on Sunday.
The official, who declined to be identified under briefing rules, said billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who owns investment firm Kingdom Holding, and former finance minister Ibrahim al-Assaf had been detained.
These arrests were made hours after King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz established an anti-corruption committee, headed by Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman.
“Ten princes and dozens of former ministers have been arrested on corruption charges,” Al Arabiya TV said quoting unnamed sources in Riyadh.
Earlier, the King issued a Royal Decree forming a supreme committee headed by the Crown Prince to fight corruption in public finance.
The members of the supreme committee will be the Chairman of the Monitoring and Investigation Commission, Chairman of the National Anti-Corruption Authority, Chief of the General Audit Bureau, Attorney General and Head of State Security.
“The Committee will identify offenses, 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,” the decree said.
Earlier, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, appointed two new ministers on Saturday to key security and economic posts, removing one of the royal family’s most prominent members as head of the National Guard and boosting the Kingdom’s Crown Prince.
The King also announced the creation of a new anti-corruption committee chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman which Al Arabiya TV said had already detained 11 princes, four current ministers and tens of former ministers. The suspects were not named.
The cabinet reshuffle saw Prince Miteb bin Abdullah replaced as minister of the National Guard by Khaled bin Ayyaf, while Economy Minister Adel Fakieh was removed in favour of his deputy Mohammed Al Tuwaijri, according to a royal decree carried by state-run media.