Saudi Prince Dies in Helicopter Crash Near Yemen Border

Earlier this evening ahead of the arrests Prince Mohammed established the anti-corruption commission by royal decree

It also sends a message that the crown prince has the full backing of his father, King Salman, to carry out sweeping anti-corruption reforms targeting senior royals and their business associates, who have always been seen as operating above the law.

Kingdom Holding's chief executive, listed on its website as Talal Ibrahim al-Maiman, has received the support of the government, and would continue to operate "business as usual", the investment firm said in a stock market statement.

The announcement of the arrests was made over Al Arabiya, the Saudi-owned satellite network whose broadcasts are officially approved.

This comes in the light of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman being named as the head of a new anti-corruption committee, which is conducting probes into the disastrous floods of 2009 that wreaked havoc in Jeddah.

The king ousted one of the country's highest-level royals from power, removing Prince Miteb bin Abdullah as head of the National Guard. One of the world's richest men, Alwaleed has significant equity holdings in several USA technology companies, as well as stakes in Saudi companies across the real estate, retail and petrochemical industries. The 62-year-old is one of the largest shareholders in Citigroup and also owns stakes in News Corp and Twitter. Both are sons of the late King Abdullah, who ruled before his half-brother King Salman.

Shares in Kingdom Holding plunged 9.9 per cent on Sunday morning. He has expressed support to the king and halted plans to invest in Iran in 2016, when Riyadh cut all ties with Tehran.

Saudi Arabia announced on Saturday that it established a "supreme committee" to investigate public corruption.

"People will be looking at any kind of worldwide holdings of the people who have been arrested, to see what will be the impact".

The committee's goal was to "preserve public money, punish corrupt people and those who exploit their positions", according to the royal decree.

The Saudi Interior Ministry said early Monday that the crash happened in Saudi Arabia's Asir province.

Meanwhile, the kingdom's top council of clerics issued a statement saying it is an Islamic duty to fight corruption - essentially giving religious backing to the high-level arrests being reported.

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