Saudi princes and ministers detained over ‘corruption’ (2024)

Saudi Arabia has dismissed a number of senior ministers and detained nearly a dozen princes in an investigation by a new anti-corruption committee, state media reported on Saturday.

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a billionaire businessman who owns the investment firm, Kingdom Holding, was among those held, according to Reuters news agency, citing an unnamed senior official.

The senior ministers who were sacked include Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, the head of the National Guard, and Adel Faqih, theeconomy minister.

Abdullah al-Sultan, commander of the Saudi navy, was replaced by Fahad al-Ghafli.

In a statement on the official Saudi news agency, SPA, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saudalluded to the “exploitation by some of the weak souls who have put their own interests above the public interest, in order to illicitly accrue money” for the creation of the anti-graft committee.

Anti-corruption probe

Saudi-owned Al Arabiya news channel reported that at least 11 princes, four current ministers and several former ministers had been detained in the anti-corruption probe.

Saudi officials, businessmen reportedly detained:

  • Alwaleed bin Talal, owner of Kingdom Holding group
  • Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, minister of the National Guard
  • Prince Turki bin Abdullah, former governor of Riyadh
  • Prince Turki bin Nasser, former head of meteorology, environment
  • Waleed al-Ibrahim, chairman of MBC media group
  • Khaled al-Tuwaijri, former president of the Royal Court
  • Adel Faqih, minister of economy and planning
  • Amr al-Dabbagh, former president of the General Investment Authority
  • Saleh Abdullah Kamel, chairman of Dallah al Baraka Group
  • Saud al-Tobaishi, head of Royal ceremonies and protocols
  • Ibrahim al-Assaf, state minister and executive of Saudi Aramco
  • Bakr Binladin, owner of construction company Saudi Binladin Group
  • Saud al-Dawish, former CEO of Saudi Telecom Company
  • Khaled al-Mulhem, former director general of Saudi Arabian Airlines

Saudi authorities have not confirmed the names of those detained. However, 14 former and current ministers, officials and businessmen were mentioned on social media as being among those held.

One of those mentioned is Waleed al-Ibrahim, chairman of the Middle East Broadcasting Center (MBC), under which Al Arabiya operates.

According to Al Arabiya, the new committee, which is headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is looking into the 2009 floods that devastated parts of Jeddah, as well as the government’s response to the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus outbreak.

King Salman issued a statement saying that the committee shall “identify offences, crimes and persons and entities involved in cases of public corruption”.

The committee has the power to issue arrest warrants, travel bans, disclose and freeze accounts and portfolios, track funds and assets, and “prevent their remittance or transfer by persons and entities, whatever they might be”, according to the statement.

‘Accelerated change’

The shake-up of the Saudi government comes just months after King Salman replaced his nephew Mohammed bin Nayef with his son Mohammed bin Salman as the kingdom’s crown prince.

Mohammed bin Salmanhas been responsible for pushing through a number of changes both at home and abroad since he became first in line to the Saudi crown.

Ian Black of the London School of Economics said the move fit a “pattern of accelerated change” since Mohammed bin Salman became heir to the throne.

“We’ve seen since June this year, very far-reaching changes,” he said, adding: “That was when Mohammed bin Salman, the son of King Salman, was appointed crown prince.

“Since Mohammed bin Salman became the crown prince in June, we’ve seen a lot of upheaval. We’ve seen the announcement of this very ambitious Saudi plan to transform the country, the Saudi economy, Vision 2030.”

The dismissal of Miteb bin Abdullah as National Guard ministercame shortly after a missile attack by Yemen’s Houthi rebels on Riyadh’s King Khaled International Airport.

However, Black said the two were probably not related as the sacking came bundled with changes to other ministerial portfolios.

In recent weeks, Saudi Arabiaannounced an end to its long-standing ban on allowing women to drive, and Mohammed bin Salman has also promised to return the country to a “moderate” form of Islam.

Since 2015 Saudi Arabia has been at war against Houthi rebels, who control much of northern Yemen on the kingdom’s southern border.

What does this mean? Al Jazeera’s senior political analyst Marwan Bishara explains:

“There have been signs over the last two and a half years that more of this is coming. [Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman] is raising the leverage of power in Saudi Arabia. He certainly has the blessings of his father, King Salman, and he’s determined to make all kinds of changes in Saudi Arabia itself and in Saudi foreign policy, which led to the war in Yemen and the Gulf crisis.

But internally this is new. Not only do we have a new chapter opening up in Saudi Arabia, we have a whole new book, a whole new political alphabet with one exception: It’s still all done in secrecy. Why those 11 princes, why those four standing ministers? Is it really just to consolidate power or is there more to it?

Why isn’t there more transparency and sharing of evidence about the setting up of the committee? We really are on the brink of dramatic changes.

In 2015, Mohammed bin Salman became minister of defence. Just a few months ago, he became the head of all the internal security forces because they got rid of Mohammed bin Nayef, then crown prince. Now he’s taken control of the third most important security apparatus within the country, so he has defence, he is in control of interior, and now he is in control of the guards.

Clearly, he has the stage set. Clearly all the heads of all the major media networks, newspapers, and commentators were all already groomed, set in motion in order to defend the crown prince and his policies. There are already new songs for the crown prince and his glory, so internally they are definitely setting the stage in terms of the three security apparatuses, the media and so on.

President Trump has given his blessings and support to the crown prince with the hundreds of billions of dollars of promised contracts, so he’s certainly supporting his various ambitions in the region, most importantly that of the confrontation with Iran in the region. This is something that Trump really wants as well as apparently a promised rapprochement with Israel.

In the tradition of Saudi Arabia, revolting against the royals is not a good idea. It’s never been recommended. But does it all end with this or will it lead to more? I think it will lead to more, but will it then lead to discontent among Saudis? It just might.”

Saudi princes and ministers detained over ‘corruption’ (2024)


Which Saudi prince detains senior members of royal family? ›

In a fresh episode of Saudi palace intrigue, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has detained three members of the royal family, including a brother of the king and a former crown prince who had been potential obstacles to his power.

What is the punishment for corruption in Saudi Arabia? ›

Up to ten years' imprisonment and a fine of up to SAR1 million (art. 9). Individuals who offer or promise to offer a bribe, and such a bribe is rejected.

What is the controversy with the royal family of Saudi Arabia? ›

Some Royals have been criticised for various human rights violations, including the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, treatment of workers, the Saudi-led intervention in Bahrain and the Yemen war.

How much is Mohammed bin Salman worth? ›

Take Mohammed bin Salman. Various estimates put the Saudi crown prince's wealth around $25 billion, which by itself is not too shabby. Even before the recent spike in oil prices, though, the Saudi royal family's net worth was estimated at a whopping $1.4 trillion. Saudi Aramco's market value is now $1.9 trillion.

Which Saudi prince has the most wives? ›

Wives. Abdullah married the daughters of the Al-Fayez of Bani Sakher, the Al Shaalan of Anizah, and Al Jarbah of the Iraqi branch of the Shammar tribe. He had about 30 wives, and fathered 36 children. Munira bint Abdullah Al Sheikh was the mother of King Abdullah's eldest living son, Prince Khaled.

How are the Saudi royal family so rich? ›

Since the discovery of oil in the 1930s, the wealth of the Saudi royal family has been anchored in oil revenues. This liquid gold has fueled their fortunes, channelled primarily through Saudi Aramco, the world's largest state-controlled oil company.

Is the government corrupt in Saudi Arabia? ›

Corruption is widespread in Saudi Arabia, most prevalent in the form of nepotism, the use of middlemen, 'wasta', to do business as well as patronage systems. The Saudi government and the royal family have often, and over many years, been accused of corruption.

Do they still cut your hand off for stealing in Saudi Arabia? ›

It was felt that this fulfilled Islamic law whilst being merciful. In fairness, this took place some 40 years ago. Now a day, the thief's hand is not cut off, but he is imprisoned as in all countries of the world, because the conditions for cutting are difficult to meet.

What is the biggest punishment in Saudi Arabia? ›

Capital punishment in Saudi Arabia is a legal punishment, with most executions in the country being carried out by decapitation (beheading) – Saudi Arabia being the only country in the world to still use the method.

Why was king Saud removed? ›

Under his reign, Saudi Arabia joined the Non-Aligned Movement in 1961. However, Saud's inability to counter the Saudi national debt brought him into a power struggle with his half-brother and crown prince, Faisal, culminating in the forced abdication of Saud and the proclamation of Faisal as king.

Who was the man banned from Saudi Arabia? ›

Omar Borkan Al Gala became notorious in 2013. The incident occurred during the Jandriyah Cultural Festival in Riyadh, during which he and two other male models worked on a promotion stand.

Who started the Saudi royal family? ›

The emergence of the Saudi dynasty began in central Arabia in 1727. In 1744, Muhammad ibn Saud, the tribal ruler of the town of Ad-Dir'iyyah near Riyadh, joined forces with the religious leader Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab, the founder of the Wahhabi movement.

Who is the richest monarchy in the world? ›

Topping the list of the world's richest monarchs is King Maha Vajiralongkorn of Thailand, with an estimated net worth of $43 billion. Also known as Rama X, he amasses this vast wealth primarily through shrewd investments in real estate, the country's largest cement, and significant stakes in various companies.

Who is the richest royal family in the world? ›

1. Saudi Arabia's royal family: $1.4 trillion (£1.1tn) The wealthiest royal family in the world is the House of Saud, which is estimated to be worth more than a jaw-dropping $1.4 trillion (£1.1tn). This unimaginable wealth is spread out among the vast family's 15,000 or so members.

Who is the richest royal family member? ›

Ranked first, the world's richest monarch, is King Maha Vajiralongkorn from Thailand, with a net worth of $43 billion. This extraordinary wealth comes from stakes in real estate in Bangkok, as well as ownership in the country's largest cement company and bank.

Who is the sleeping prince of Saudi Arabia? ›

Main content. Article Preview : ALBAWABA - Saudi Arabia's Sleeping Prince, whose real name is Prince is Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, was born in 1987 and has been in a coma since 2005 as a result of a catastrophic car accident in London.

Who is the highest prince in Saudi Arabia? ›

Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud (Arabic: محمد بن سلمان آل سعود, romanized: Muḥammad bin Salmān ʾĀl Su'ūd; born 31 August 1985) is the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia. The heir apparent to the Saudi Arabian throne, he is currently Crown Prince and Prime Minister.

Who is the most senior member of the royal household? ›

Duties of the office

The Lord Chamberlain is the most senior official of the Royal Household and oversees its business, including liaising with the other senior officers of the Household, chairing Heads of Department meetings, and advising in the appointment of senior Household officials.

Which Saudi king had the most kids? ›

Abdulaziz bin Abdul Rahman Al Saud is the founder of Saudi Arabia. He was the king of Saudi from 1932 to his death in 1953. He had about 22 wives and was the father of almost 100 children, including 45 sons.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Ms. Lucile Johns

Last Updated:

Views: 6541

Rating: 4 / 5 (41 voted)

Reviews: 80% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Ms. Lucile Johns

Birthday: 1999-11-16

Address: Suite 237 56046 Walsh Coves, West Enid, VT 46557

Phone: +59115435987187

Job: Education Supervisor

Hobby: Genealogy, Stone skipping, Skydiving, Nordic skating, Couponing, Coloring, Gardening

Introduction: My name is Ms. Lucile Johns, I am a successful, friendly, friendly, homely, adventurous, handsome, delightful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.