Saudi King issues royal orders

King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is tackling corruption

Among those detained was investment firm Kingdom Holding's billionaire owner Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.

The crash also comes after Saudi Arabia on Saturday intercepted and destroyed a ballistic missile near Riyadh´s global airport after it was sacked from Yemen in an escalation of the kingdom´s war against Iran-backed Huthi rebels.

President Trump has spoken with the king of Saudi Arabia to offer a wholehearted endorsement of a drive to modernize the kingdom, as the Saudi authorities arrested scores of prominent business people and ministers in a sweeping anti-corruption crackdown.

In addition to locking down bank accounts, the Saudi government said it will seize any property linked to corruption charges. The group was created by a royal decree "due to the propensity of some people for abuse, putting their personal interest above public interest, and stealing public funds", the Saudi government said.

Prince Mutaib, the preferred son of the late King Abdullah, was once thought to be a leading contender for the throne before the unexpected rise of Prince Mohammed two years ago. It's part of a larger effort to diversify the economy away from dependence on oil revenue. He was replaced by Prince Khalid bin Ayyaf al-Muqrin, who had held a senior post with the guard.

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He had inherited control of the national guard, an elite internal security force built out of traditional tribal units, from his father, who ran it for five decades.

Analysts suggested the corruption probe, which targeted key members of the royal family, was a show of force by the crown prince, aimed at removing any potential opposition as he pushes an ambitious and controversial reform agenda.

Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, a research fellow at the James A Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University, told the Associated Press the arrests were created to further smooth the crown prince's eventual succession to the throne.

The arrests have cemented the hold on power for King Salman and his 32-year-old son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Also purged were the navy chief and the economy minister. Fakeih with his deputy, Mohammad al-Tuwaijri. 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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