Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal was arrested Saturday amid an unprecedented anti-corruption crackdown.
One of the world’s richest men and an outspoken critic of President Trump, Alwaleed holds major stakes in Apple, Twitter, Citigroup and many other blue-chip companies.
The 62-year-old Syracuse University grad was one of 11 princes and dozens of foreign ministers arrested as part of a sweeping anti-corruption probe led by the kingdom’s powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The stunning round-up of royals is seen as an attempt to further tighten Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s grip on power.
The 32-year-old crown prince is the favorite son and top adviser of King Salman.
The arrests came just hours after the king announced the creation of the anti-graft committee.
The royal order said it was established “due to the propensity of some people for abuse, putting their personal interest above public interest, and stealing public funds.”
The kingdom’s top council of clerics signaled its support for the high-level arrests — saying it is an Islamic duty to fight corruption.
Alwaleed’s arrest is likely to send shock waves throughout the world’s financial centers.
The royal was seen as friendly, forward-thinking figure to the west, a well-spoken investor and philanthropist who regularly gave interviews to American media.
He ripped Trump in 2015 as a “disgrace to the GOP but to all America.” “You are a disgrace not only to the GOP but to all America,” he added in the tweet.
Trump responded in characteristic fashion. “Dopey Prince @Alwaleed_Talal wants to control our U.S. politicians with daddy’s money. Can’t do it when I get elected. #Trump2016”
With News Wire Services.
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