Nov. 5 (UPI) — Saudi Arabia arrested nearly a dozen princes, and several other former and current officials in a crackdown by the government’s new anti-corruption committee.
The arrests happened Saturday night and included billionaire investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who currently or formerly owned stakes in News Corp, Citigroup and Twitter.
The committee removed Economy and Planning Minister Adel bin Mohammed Faqih, National Guard Minister Prince Miteb bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz and Naval Forces Cmdr. Adm. Abdullah bin Sultan bin Mohammed al-Sultan from their posts.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the 32-year-old son and top adviser of King Salman, heads the committee.
King Salman formed the committee “due to the propensity of some people for abuse, putting their personal interest above public interest and stealing public funds.”
The crown prince has the authority to investigate, arrest, ban from travel, freeze accounts and portfolios, and track funds and assets of individuals involved in corruption, Al Arabiya reported. The committee also will reopen investigations into the 2009 Jeddah floods and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome virus outbreak.
The New York Times reported that the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Riyadh, the unofficial royal hotel, was evacuated Saturday night, prompting rumors it may be used to house royals who had been arrested.