A new “anti-corruption” body in Saudi Arabia has detained 11 princes, four sitting ministers and dozens of former ministers over the weekend.
The detentions came hours after the new committee, headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was formed by royal decree.
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 shock waves in the oil-rich kingdom.
The royal decree setting up the committee declares: “The homeland will not exist unless corruption is uprooted and the corrupt are held accountable.”
The Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television confirmed the “arrest of 11 princes and dozens of former ministers in Saudi Arabia.”
Domestic news websites stated that the billionaire Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal was among those arrested.
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 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 crown prince said the return of “moderate Islam” was key to his plans to modernise Saudi Arabia.
He also vowed to “eradicate the remnants of extremism very soon.”
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