17 Saudi Prince arrested in anti corruption drive

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LAHORE: At least 38 former, current, and deputy Saudi ministers, apart from 17 Royal personalities, have till date been arrested in the Kingdom’s merciless anti-corruption initiative, headed by the 32-year old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The Saudi Crown Prince has the authority to investigate, arrest, issue travel bans and freeze the assets of those it finds corrupt. Those hand-cuffed also include formal head of the royal court, Khaled Al-Tuwaijri, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, Saudi media mogul Waleed Al-Ibrahim and Prince Turki bin Nasser.

According to Saudi TV, the three ministers removed from their posts were Economy and Planning Minister Adel bin Mohammed Faqih, National Guard Minister Prince Miteb bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz and Naval Forces Commander Admiral Abdullah bin Sultan bin Mohammed Al-Sultan.

Amongst all apprehended, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal happens to be the most famous figure, recognized globally for his financial prowess and generous philanthropic activities.

Owning 95 per cent of Kingdom Holding, which holds stakes in global companies including Citigroup, Twitter, Apple and New York Plaza Hotel (which was once US President Donald Trump’s property), Prince Alwaleed is a grandson of the Saudi Arabia 's founder, King Abdul Aziz Al Saud.

His arrest had made his business empire lose $750 million on Sunday alone. Shares in the prince's Kingdom Holding Company had nosedived by 9.9 per cent, before closing down 7.6 per cent in Riyadh.

The remaining five per cent is listed on the Saudi Stock Exchange. Kingdom Holding was worth about $10 billion before Sunday's share price drop, according to the CNN.

The CNN Money states: “Alwaleed has also courted controversy on occasion, suing Forbes for libel in 2013 after it said he was worth only $20 billion. In 2015, he urged Donald Trump to drop out of the presidential race, calling him a "disgrace" over threats to ban Muslims from entering the US. His personal fortune is estimated at over $17 billion, according to Forbes.

The BBC maintains: “US President Donald Trump backed the move by the Saudi authorities. “I have great confidence in King Salman and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia , they know exactly what they are doing," he tweeted. "Some of those they are harshly treating have been 'milking' their country for years!" Mr Trump added.”

The British media house has further reported: “These are heady and unpredictable times in Saudi Arabia . The Arab world's richest country is undergoing seismic changes almost unprecedented in its 85-year history as a sovereign nation. The idea of dozens of familiar pillars of the establishment all being publicly and humiliatingly removed from office and detained, albeit in great comfort, would have been unthinkable just three years ago.”

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