Saudi Arabia’s King Salman removed one of the royal family’s most prominent princes from his ministerial role and arrested other royals and top officials in a sweeping purge that clears any remaining obstacles to his son’s potential ascension to the throne.
Acting on orders from a newly established anti-corruption committee headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, security forces arrested 11 princes, three ministers and dozens of former ministers, according to Saudi media.
Three ministers were removed from their positions: 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, said Saudi TV, the government’s official broadcaster.
The three ousted ministers were replaced, with Prince Khalid bin Abdulaziz bin Mohammed bin Ayyaf Al Muqren becoming National Guard minister, Mohammed bin Mazyad Al-Tuwaijri becoming the Economy and Planning Minister, and Vice Admiral Fahd bin Abdullah Al-Ghifaili taking on the role of Naval Forces Commander.
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, one of the world’s richest men and a shareholder of Citigroup Inc. and Twitter, was among those detained, according to a senior Saudi official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“Laws will be applied firmly on everyone who touched public money and didn’t protect it or embezzled it, or abused their power and influence,” King Salman said in comments shown on state TV.
King Salman had already sidelined other senior members of the royal family to prevent any opposition to the crown prince, 32-year-old Prince Mohammed, known as MBS among diplomats and journalists, who replaced his elder cousin, Muhammed bin Nayef, in June. That maneuver removed any doubt of how succession plans will unfold following the reign of King Salman, now 81.