By Vaughn Hoisington | SAUDI ARABIA
Over the weekend, the Saudi Arabian Government began to crack down on corruption. This purge of powerful individuals didn’t stop at eleven princes and four ministers, some former ministers were also detained.
Along with arrests, Saudi banks are freezing the accounts of suspects that are believed to be involved in illegal dealings. The Saudi Government has also created a no-fly list and prohibited private jets from flying without a permit.
Among those arrested was Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, Saudi Arabia’s wealthiest citizen. Forbes estimated his wealth at 16.7 billion dollars, which makes him the 45th richest man in the world. Prince Al-Waleed was detained for allegations of money laundering, bribery, extortion, and taking advantage of public office for personal gain.
Prince Abdul Aziz bin Fahd died during his arrest. His death occurred “when his security contingent got into a firefight with regime gunmen attempting to make an arrest.”
These arrests started only hours after the creation of Saudi Arabia’s anti-corruption committee. The committee was led by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. The arrests of these government officials have left the Crown Prince with complete control of all three of Saudi Arabia’s security forces.
Robert Jordan, a former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, believes that these arrests are just a power grab by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and that he is arresting his “potential rivals under the pretext of corruption.”
Others have stated that the Crown Prince is removing opponents to his reform agenda that would resist his proposed changes to the Kingdom.
The Saudi Attorney General has stated that this was just “Phase One of [the] anti-corruption push.”