Saudi ‘corruption crackdown’ nabs dozens of royals, other officials

World Today

The heir to the Saudi throne is overseeing an unprecedented wave of arrests in Riyadh. Dozens of royals, military officers and ex-ministers have been snagged in a sweeping anti-corruption drive.

CGTN’s Yasser Hakim details the probe and those detained.

It came as a major shock.

Even ministers and members of the king’s Royal family are involved, accused of money laundering, bribery and misuse of power.

Some of those detained are influential businessmen such as the renowned Al Waleed Bin Talal–the nephew of King Salman.

The impact could be far reaching, extending to places like Egypt, where Saudi Arabia has pledged billions of dollars in investments.

“The highest private sector Saudi investors in Egypt are Prince Walid bin Talal and Sheikh Saleh Kamel, who were both detained,” according to Atef Saadawy, editor-in-chief of Democracy Magazine. “The impact will be clear after investigations, but there are also investments by the Saudi government. Those will not be affected by the latest case.”

A newly formed anti-corruption committee led by the King’s son Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman is spearheading the latest crackdown. But some say it’s not just about fighting corruption.

“The logic says all these influential names cannot be detained at the same time for corruption. It’s a much bigger issue,” Saadawy said. “Could be tensions or a reaction to internal dissatisfaction over some changes in power made by the king lately.”

Earlier this year year, the king replaced Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef with Prince Mohammed bin Salman as the new crown prince. Saadawy says some businessman such as Walid Bin Talal were known to have opposed the changes.

While the Saudi government announced that no one will escape punishment from corruption, some experts fear this crackdown could be a show of power by the young crown prince more than anything else.

For more on the upheaval in Saudi Arabia, CGTN’s Wang Guan spoke to Geoffrey Aronson.