Saudi Arabia arrests 11 princes, including billionaire, in corruption crackdown

Last video of Saudi Prince Mansour bin Muqrin, officials before helicopter crash

Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb did not acknowledge the arrests or name any suspects, but The Associated Press has reported that billionaire Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and other senior royals, military officers, businessmen and ex-ministers have been detained and are being held in five-star hotels across the capital, Riyadh.

Those detained included a number of government officials including Prince Turki bin Abdullah, former governor of Riyadh province, Khalid Al Tuwaijri, former chief of the Royal Court and Ibrahim Al Assaf, former finance minister, according list published by Reuters.

Earlier, Kingdom Holding reported it swung to a third quarter profit after restating the same year ago period to a loss.

The committee is also trying to find out how the state agencies handled the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus which has claimed hundreds of lives in the past few years.

Saudi Arabia has arrested 11 princes and close to a dozen former ministers in an anti-corruption drive on Saturday. Prince Muqrin was removed as crown prince in April 2015 by King Salman. While numerous suspects were not named, Reuters reports, Prince Miteb bin Abdullah was ousted as minister of the National Guard and replaced by a lower-level prince who held a position with the guard, Khalid bin Ayyaf al-Muqrin.

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Some of the 11 princes and 38 former government ministers, deputies and businessmen arrested in Saudi Arabia are reportedly being held at the hotel.

With the two princes now sidelined, control of the kingdom's security apparatuses is now largely centralised under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is also defence minister.

The kingdom's top council of clerics was quick to throw its support behind the royal decree, tweeting shortly after the announcement: "Fighting corruption is an obligation in Islamic sharia [law], a requirement of national interest, and combating it is just as important as the fight against terrorism".

Al-Arabiya said that the anti-corruption committee had the right to investigate, arrest, ban from travel or freeze the assets of anyone it deemed corrupt.

The 32-year-old crown prince has been seeking to attract greater global investments and improve the country's reputation as a place to do business.

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