Ethiopian born Mohammad al-Amoudi, one of the richest men in the world and the most prominent investors in Ethiopia, is detained in Saudi Arabia today. He is among several high profile princes, ministers and businessmen that were arrested over an alleged corruption.
According to an update provided by a local Saudi online media outlet, the detainees include 11 princes and 38 current and former officials. All 49 were arrested for charges of “corruption”, following an investigation led by the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
In a statement, Saudi Arabia’s Attorney General said the actions carried out by the supreme anti-corruption committee, which was formed by order of King Salman, the Crown Prince’s father, on Saturday, were undertaken “as part of the state’s judicial duty to combat corruption”.
A senior Saudi official who declined to be identified, has confirmed that those detained include:
- Prince Alwaleed bin Talal – Chairman of Kingdom Holding and the richest person in Saudi Arabia. His has major stakes in News Corp, Citigroup and Twitter. He co-owns the Four Seasons hotel chain along with Microsoft’s Bill Gates. He is also the sole owner the Savoy, London’s landmark luxury hotel.
Prince Miteb bin Abdullah – Minister of the National Guard, which accounts for about half of the country’s military. He is son of the late King Abdullah, and believed to be contender to the throne
- Prince Turki bin Abdullah – Former governor of Riyadh province
- Prince Turki bin Nasser – Former head of the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment
- Prince Fahad bin Abdullah bin Mohammad al-Saud – Former deputy defense minister
- Khalid al-Tuwaijri – Former chief of the Royal Court
- Adel Fakeih – Minister of Economy and Planning
- Ibrahim al-Assaf – Former finance minister and board member of Saudi Aramco
- Abdullah al-Sultan – Commander of the Saudi navy
- Bakr bin Laden – Chairman of Saudi Binladin Construction Group
- Mohammad al-Tobaishi – Former head of protocol at the Royal Court
- Amr al-Dabbagh – Former governor of Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority
- Alwaleed al-Ibrahim – Owner of television network MBC
- Khalid al-Mulheim – Former director-general at Saudi Arabian Airlines
- Saoud al-Daweesh – Former chief executive of Saudi Telecom
- Saleh Kamel – Businessman
- Mohammad al-Amoudi – Businessman
The sweeping campaign of arrests appears to be the latest move to consolidate the power of 32 year old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, son and heir apparent of King Salman.
Back in 2015, Prince Alaweed bin Talal has publicly clashed with Donald Trump. On Twitter he called the then candidate Trump a “disgrace not only to the GOP but to all America” and predicted that he would not win the election. Trump fired back, labeling the prince “dopey” and accusing him of using his father’s money to try to control US politicians.
Al-Amoudi is a controversial figure in Ethiopia where critics accuse him of being supportive of an authoritarian government, while supporters say his vast investments in his birth country have created job opportunities for many. His business interest span the globe from an oil refinery in Morocco and Sweden to a gold mine and luxury hotel in Ethiopia.