Saudi Prince detained in anti-corruption inquiry

FILE PHOTO - Saudi billionaire Prince AlWaleed bin Talal looks on during a news briefing in Manama, May 8, 2012. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed/File Photo
Vastavam web: Saudi authorities detained a billionaire global investor and the head of the National Guard as part of an anti-corruption purge that consolidates Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s hold on power.A top security official, Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, was detained and replaced as minister of the powerful National Guard by Prince Khaled bin Ayyaf. This consolidates Prince Mohammed’s bin Salman’s control of security institutions which had previously been headed by separate branches of the ruling family.The new body was given broad powers to investigate cases, issue arrest warrants and travel restrictions and freeze assets.
“The homeland will not exist unless corruption is uprooted and the corrupt are held accountable,” the royal decree said.Analysts said the goal of the purge went beyond corruption and aimed to remove potential opposition to Prince Mohammed as he pushes an ambitious and controversial reform agenda.“The most recent crackdown breaks with the tradition of consensus within the ruling family whose secretive inner workings are equivalent to those of the Kremlin at the time of the Soviet Union,” wrote James Dorsey, a senior fellow at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.An economist at a big Gulf bank, who declined to be named because of political sensitivities, said nobody in Saudi Arabia believed corruption was at the root of the purge.