New Saudi ministers sworn in following palace purge

New Saudi ministers sworn in following palace purge
Saudi Arabia's King Salman to replace the former National Guard chief and economy and planning minister on Monday.

2 min read
06 November, 2017
King Salman carried our the official ceremony in Riyadh on Monday [Anadolu]

New Saudi ministers were sworn in to replace officials arrested in a large-scale "anti-corruption" sweep that has shocked the country and upended longstanding traditions within the ruling family.

Saudi King Salman swore in new National Guard chief Prince Khalid bin Ayyaf al-Muqrin and new Economy and Planning Minister Mohammed al-Tuwaijri on Monday, images from the official Saudi Press Agency showed.

The officials will replace Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, who for the past four years had led the National Guard, along with Adel Fakeih, who was minister of economy since April.

Both were reportedly arrested as part of a purported anti-corruption probe led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Prince Miteb was once considered a contender for the throne, although he has not been thought of recently as a challenger to Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The arrests, which targeted 11 princes and 38 officials and businessmen began late on Saturday. The detainees are reportedly being held at five-star hotels across the capital Riyadh.

The highest-profile royal caught in the sweep is Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, an outspoken billionaire royal with investments in Western companies.

Saudi Twitter accounts released several other names of those arrested. They include Alwalid al-Ibrahim, a Saudi businessman with ties to the royal family who runs the Arabic satellite group MBC.

Also allegedly arrested were the former head of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority Amr al-Dabbagh, former Finance Minister Ibrahim Assaf, and Bakr Binladin, head of the Saudi Binladin Group, a major business conglomerate.

News of the purge came as a prominent Saudi prince was killed along with seven other officials when a helicopter went down near the kingdom's southern border with war-torn Yemen on Sunday.

Prince Mansour bin Muqrin, the deputy governor of Asir province and son of a former crown prince, was killed in the crash in Asir province as he took part in a tour of local projects, the Saudi interior ministry said early on Monday.

Prince Mansour was the son of Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz, a former intelligence service director and one-time crown prince.

Prince Muqrin was removed as crown prince in April 2015 by his half-brother King Salman in favour of Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, a counter-terrorism czar and interior minister.

But in June, King Salman also ousted Prince Mohammed in favour of the king's 32-year-old son, the now-Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as first in line to the throne.