The Latest: Saudi probe says crimes uncovered, trials ahead
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — The Latest on Saudi Arabia, where several princes and former senior officials were arrested over the weekend (all times local):
Saudi Arabia’s newly-established anti-corruption committee overseeing the arrests of top princes and officials says evidence of widespread corruption has been uncovered.
Separately, Attorney General Saud al-Mojeb warned in a statement that trials will be held “in a timely manner” and that the probe is “merely the start of a vital process to root out corruption.”
In a statement issued Monday, a member of the committee, Khalid al-Mehaisen, said suspects are currently being questioned, the first tacit government acknowledgement that individuals have been detained. He stopped short of naming the suspects.
Al-Mehaisen described the investigations as “a very difficult task when it involves influential officials and senior executives.”
Billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, two of the late King Abdullah’s sons and powerful businessmen, including the chairman of the Binladin Group and the founder of the MBC Group of Arabic channels, are reportedly among those arrested.
Saudi King Salman has sworn in new officials to take over from a powerful prince and former minister believed to be detained in a large-scale sweep.
The official Saudi Press Agency released images Monday of the swearing-in of new National Guard chief Prince Khalid bin Ayyaf al-Muqrin and new Economy and Planning Minister Mohammad al-Tuwaijri.
Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, who for years had led the National Guard, and Adel Fakeih, who had led the Economy Ministry, were both reportedly arrested as part of a purported anti-corruption probe led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The arrests began late Saturday. Eleven princes and 38 officials and businessmen are reportedly being held at five-star hotels across the capital, Riyadh.
The company chaired by a detained Saudi billionaire prince is seeking to reassure investors after its stock plunged following his arrest in a purported corruption sweep.
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s Kingdom Holding Co. said in a statement Monday that it has the government’s “vote of confidence” as it pursues its investment strategy and global business operations.
Prince Alwaleed is chairman of the company, which has investments in Twitter, Apple, Lyft, Citigroup and hotel chains like the Four Seasons, Movenpick and Fairmont.
CEO Talal al-Maiman says the company, which manages more than $12.5 billion of investments around the world, is focused on its “unwavering responsibilities” to shareholders.
The company, which lost 7.5 percent in trading Sunday, made no reference its chairman’s arrest.