Saudi Ara­bia Ar­rests 11 Princes,

The Miracle - - Front Page -

Saudi Ara­bia an­nounced the ar­rest on Satur­day night of the prom­i­nent bil­lion­aire in­vestor Prince Al­waleed bin Talal, plus at least 10 other princes, four min­is­ters and tens of for­mer min­is­ters. The an­nounce­ment of the ar­rests was made over Al Ara­biya, the Saudi-owned satel­lite net­work whose broad­casts are of­fi­cially ap­proved. Prince Al­waleed’s ar­rest is sure to send shock waves both through the king­dom and the world’s ma­jor fi­nan­cial cen­ters.He con­trols the in­vest­ment firm King­dom Hold­ing and is one of the world’s rich­est men, own­ing or hav­ing owned ma­jor stakes in 21st Cen­tury Fox, Cit­i­group, Ap­ple, Twit­ter and many other well-known com­pa­nies. The prince also con­trols satel­lite tele­vi­sion net­works watched across the Arab world. The sweep­ing cam­paign of ar­rests ap­pears to be the lat­est move to con­sol­i­date the power of Crown Prince Mo­hammed bin Sal­man, the favorite son and top ad­viser of King Sal­man.At 32, the crown prince is al­ready the dom­i­nant voice in Saudi mil­i­tary, for­eign, eco­nomic and so­cial poli­cies, stir­ring mur­murs of dis­con­tent in the royal fam­ily that he has amassed too much per­sonal power, and at a re­mark­ably young age. The king had de­creed the cre­ation of a pow­er­ful new anti-cor­rup­tion com­mit­tee, headed by the crown prince, only hours be­fore the com­mit­tee or­dered the ar­rests. Al Ara­biya said that the an­ti­cor­rup­tion com­mit­tee has the right to in­ves­ti­gate, ar­rest, ban from travel, or freeze the as­sets of any­one it deems cor­rupt. The Ritz Carl­ton ho­tel in Riyadh, the de facto royal ho­tel, was evac­u­ated on Satur­day, stir­ring ru­mors that it would be used to house de­tained roy­als. The air­port for pri­vate planes was closed, arous­ing spec­u­la­tion that the crown prince was seek­ing to block rich busi­ness­men from flee­ing be­fore more ar­rests. Prince Al­waleed was giv­ing in­ter­views to the Western news me­dia as re­cently as late last month about sub­jects like so-called crypto cur­ren­cies and Saudi Ara­bia’s plans for a pub­lic of­fer­ing of shares in its state oil com­pany, Aramco. He has also re­cently sparred pub­licly with Pres­i­dent Don­ald J. Trump. The prince was part of a group of in­vestors who bought con­trol of the Plaza Ho­tel in New York from Mr. Trump, and he also bought an ex­pen­sive yacht from him as well. But in a twit­ter mes­sage in 2015 the prince called Mr. Trump “a dis­grace not only to the GOP but to all Amer­ica.”

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