Saudi Palace Purge in Full Swing

Saudi Palace Purge in Full Swing
Saudi Palace Purge in Full Swing

 An anti-corruption probe that has purged Saudi Arabian royals, ministers and businessmen appeared to be widening on Monday after the founder of one of the kingdom’s biggest travel companies was reportedly detained.

Dozens of people have been detained in the crackdown, which has consolidated Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s power while alarming much of the traditional business establishment. Billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, Saudi Arabia’s best-known international investor, is also being held, officials said at the weekend, Reuters reported.

The front page of leading Saudi newspaper Okaz challenged businessmen on Monday to reveal the sources of their assets, asking: “Where did you get this?” in bright red text.

Another headline from Saudi-owned al-Hayat warned: “After the launch (of the anti-corruption drive), the noose tightens, whoever you are!”

A no-fly list has been drawn up and security forces in some Saudi airports were barring owners of private jets from taking off without a permit, pan-Arab daily Al-Asharq Al-Awsat reported.

Among those detained are 11 princes, four ministers and tens of former ministers, according to Saudi officials.

The allegations against the men include money laundering, bribery, extorting officials and taking advantage of public office for personal gain, a Saudi official told Reuters. Those accusations could not be independently verified and family members of those detained could not be reached.

Saudi authorities have stated that they will be freezing accounts of suspects detained by the kingdom on corruption charges. Officials confirmed no “preferential treatment” will be given and cases will be handled as per procedure.

***Prince Killed in Chopper Crash

A helicopter carrying several Saudi officials, including a high-ranking prince, has crashed in the kingdom’s southwest near the border with Yemen, Al Jazeera reported.

Prince Mansour bin Muqrin Al Saud, deputy governor of Asir Province, was on a tour of local projects when the crash happened on Sunday evening.

The Saudi Interior Ministry said in a statement on Monday that the helicopter’s wreckage had been found and an investigation was under way. The cause of the crash is still unknown.

The Saudi news channel Al Arabiya reported that Mansour died in the crash. Seven other officials were also reportedly killed.

The son of former crown prince, Muqrin bin Abdulaziz, Mansour was appointed deputy governor of Asir Province, which borders Yemen, earlier this year.

Videos posted on Twitter hours before the crash showed him carrying out an inspection of defense and environmental projects.


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