Billionaire prince among dozens arrested in Saudi sweep
Billionaire prince among dozens arrested in Saudi sweep
MANDEL NGAN AFP Getty Images
07 Noviembre, 2017, 00:11
Attorney General Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb said that the purge was only "phase one" and that detainees had been questioned.
Prince Miteb was replaced by a lesser known royal, Prince Khalid bin Ayyaf al-Muqrin, to head the National Guard- a prestigious force tasked with protecting the royal family, as well as important holy sites in Mecca and Medina, and oil and gas sites.
The prince's latest high-risk move has gotten rave reviews from Saudis on Twitter, the country's most popular social media outlet.
In tandem with reforms, Prince Mohammed has been shoring up power and over the summer carried out a wave of arrests in a crackdown on dissenters, including influential clerics and some liberals who could block his path. The kingdom's top council of clerics also lauded the anti-corruption efforts as "important", essentially giving religious backing to the crackdown. The dramatic purge comes at a time of unprecedented social and economic transformation in ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia, as Prince Mohammed steps up his reform drive for a post-oil era.
An anti-corruption body led by the crown prince, 32, ordered the detentions of 11 princes, four ministers and dozens of ex-ministers.
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., October 26, 2017. The question is whether he is showing the maturity and steadiness to use such a long reign to create a viable, modern Saudi Arabia.
The official Saudi Press Agency said the prince and seven provincial officials had been touring coastal projects west of the city of Abha.
Saudi billionaire Prince AlWaleed bin Talal looks on during a news briefing in Manama.
Riyadh claims the arrests are part of an anti-corruption probe although many analysts view the purge as a power grab by the crown prince.
The prince, often pictured on his 85.65-metre superyacht in the Mediterranean, is among the most outspoken Saudi royals and a longtime advocate for women's rights. Mohammed bin Salman is sending a message, he says: "This guy is in charge and nobody is off the table".
Some analysts believe the arrests are designed to consolidate the power of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and further smooth his eventual succession to the throne. Unlike his predecessors, Mohammed bin Salman will be in power when oil revenues alone can no longer maintain the patterns of wealth distribution that have underpinned political stability for decades. It's not like he was being challenged.
Meanwhile, Saudi banks reportedly started freezing bank accounts of the suspects.
It's a typically bold move for a crown prince who has made such sweeping strokes the hallmark of his swift rise. Total volume traded was about 12 percent above the 100-day average.
It turned out to be no idle threat.
Prince Mohammed's agenda is upending the ruling Al Saud's longstanding alliance with the kingdom's clerical establishment in favour of synchronising with a more cosmopolitan, global capitalism that appeals to international investors and maybe even non-Muslim tourists. Under the crown prince, the kingdom is also expected to lift a public ban on cinemas and has encouraged mixed-gender celebrations - something unseen before. Torrential rains washed away thousands of homes and killed more than 120 people. Earlier on Saturday, Trump said he spoke to King Salman, though the White House readout of that call did not include any reference to the impending arrests.
Wall Street's three key equity indexes rose slightly in afternoon trading, with investors focussed on what could be the biggest merger in the technology sector.
The government has announced new trials with as many as 320 defendants, including some already acquitted by local courts. In the meantime, he has taken control of every lever of power from defense to oil policies.
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