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Published: Mon, November 06, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Saudi crown prince tightens grip on power, arrests royals

Saudi crown prince tightens grip on power, arrests royals

Saudi Arabia has arrested 11 princes, four officials and tens of former officials as part of a sweeping anti-corruption probe which further cements control in the hands of its young Crown Prince, Mohammad bin Salman.

It also comes as the Kingdom appears to be in the midst of a major purge of rivals to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb did not acknowledge the arrests or name any suspects, but The Associated Press has reported that billionaire Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and other senior royals, military officers, businessmen and ex-ministers have been detained and are being held in five-star hotels across the capital, Riyadh.

The king named Crown Prince Mohammed the minister of defence in 2015.

Bloomberg quoted a senior Saudi official as saying that 11 princes and 38 current or former senior officials were arrested.

Saudi Arabia announced Sunday it will freeze the bank accounts of a billionaire prince and other high-profile members of the royal family who were arrested on corruption charges over the weekend.

The Ritz Carlton hotel chain says it is "evaluating the situation" at its hotel in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, after reports it is being used to house some of those detained in a wave of arrests of princes and former government officials.

Shares in Kingdom Holding plunged 9.9 per cent on Sunday morning. He has expressed support to the king and halted plans to invest in Iran in 2016, when Riyadh cut all ties with Tehran.

Saudi officials described Saturday's arrests as the result of an investigation by a newly created anti-corruption committee.

Kingdom Holding did not respond to requests for comment from The National. The royal decree said the committee was needed "due to the propensity of some people for abuse, putting their personal interest above public interest, and stealing public funds" and will "trace and combat corruption at all levels", the statement said.

The crash also comes after Saudi Arabia on Saturday intercepted and destroyed a ballistic missile near Riyadh´s global airport after it was sacked from Yemen in an escalation of the kingdom´s war against Iran-backed Huthi rebels.

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