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>> Some of Saudi Arabia's most prominent princes detained in a sweeping anti-corruption inquiry likely to consolidate power for the Gulf Kingdom's crown prince. News of the purge of business men and politicians broke in the early hours of Sunday morning. In total 11 Princes, four ministers, and tens of former ministers have been detained.
Two senior Saudi officials told Reuters.>> Certain investment banks.>> Among them, billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. He's invested billions across the world, including betting heavily on Citigroup at the height of the financial crisis. Stocks in his investment firm, Kingdom Holding, plunged 10 percent following the news. Also detained was Prince Matea bin Abdullah, he was minister of the National Guards, now removed from his post.
The crackdown by Saudi Arabia's King Salmon was accompanied by the creation, by Royal Decree, by a new Anti corruption Committee. With broad powers to investigate cases issue arrest warrants and travel restrictions and freeze assets, but many analysts say the goal of this purge goes beyond corruption. And is aimed at removing any potential opposition to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as he pushes a controversial reform agenda.
The 32 year old son of the king named as the heir to the throne in June emerged from relative obsequity less than three years ago to amass an iron grip on power in Saudi Arabia. He would chair the new anti corruption body and as defense Minister has been running the kingdom's war in Yemen.
In September, he announced that a ban on women driving would be lifted. And he's been trying to break decades of conservative tradition in the country by promoting public entertainment and visits by foreign tourists. In economic policy, he has slashed state spending in some areas and plans a big sale of state assets.
Saudi Arabia's stock market fell in early trading following news of the detentions. The Saudi equities index fell 1% in the first 25 minutes of trading and declining stocks overwhelmed advances by 155 to 15.