Trump Talks with King; Supports Crackdown on Rogue Saudi Element

Trump Talks with King; Supports Crackdown on Rogue Saudi Element

Trump Talks with King; Supports Crackdown on Rogue Saudi Element

News of the crash comes as Saudi Arabia pursues a sweeping purge of the kingdom´s upper ranks, with dozens of princes, ministers and a billionaire tycoon arrested as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman cements his hold on power.

In an unusually lengthy and detailed readout of the call made on Saturday, the White House said that Mr. Trump had thanked King Salman for Saudi Arabia's support in fighting terrorism and for its purchase of military equipment from the United States.

Among 11 royals and several other government ministers arrested Saturday was Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, an internationally prominent investor with an estimated net worth of around $19 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Other people detained in the probe include former finance minister Ibrahim al-Assaf, a board member of national oil giant Saudi Aramco; economy minister Adel Fakieh, who once played a major role in drafting reforms; former Riyadh governor Prince Turki bin Abdullah; and Khalid al-Tuwaijiri, who headed the Royal Court under the late King Abdullah.

Prince Alwaleed increased his stake in Citigroup at the height of the global financial crisis a decade ago and he has held on to the stake, saying as recently as last month that he was very happy with the investment. Many of them are potential rivals or critics of the crown prince, whose purported anti-corruption sweep sent shockwaves across the kingdom Sunday as he further consolidated power.

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Shares in Kingdom Holding plunged 9.9 per cent on Sunday morning.

In addition to locking down bank accounts, the Saudi government said it will seize any property linked to corruption charges.

Prince Alwaleed's investments, current and future, may now be in doubt after he was detained in an investigation by a new Saudi anti-corruption body.

Al-Arabiya said that the anti-corruption committee had the right to investigate, arrest, ban from travel or freeze the assets of anyone it deemed corrupt.

The kingdom's top council of clerics was quick to throw its support behind the royal decree, tweeting shortly after the announcement: "Fighting corruption is an obligation in Islamic sharia [law], a requirement of national interest, and combating it is just as important as the fight against terrorism".

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