Saudi prince ‘is killed in firefight while resisting arrest as part of kingdom’s anti-corruption purge’ 24 hours after another prince died in helicopter crash
- Prince Abdul Aziz bin Fahd, 44, was shot dead by authorities, local sources said
- He was ‘being arrested in the anti-corruption sweep’ when a firefight broke out
- Royal had ties with company once run by ex-Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri
- It comes as second royal, Prince Mansour bin Muqrin, died in a helicopter crash
- Anti-corruption sting froze dozens of suspects’ bank accounts worth £25billion
Local media in the Gulf are reporting Prince Abdul Aziz bin Fahd (pictured), 44, was shot dead by authorities trying to arrest him as part of the anti-corruption sweep
A Saudi prince is thought to have been killed in a firefight while resisting arrest as part of the kingdom’s anti-corruption purge.
It comes just 24 hours after another of Riyadh’s royals died in a helicopter crash along with government ministers.
Local media in the Gulf are reporting Prince Abdul Aziz bin Fahd, 44, was shot dead by authorities trying to arrest him as part of the anti-corruption sweep.
Former FBI special agent Ali H Soufan announced on Twitter the son of the late King Fahd had died on Sunday.
It was also reported in The Duran, who said Prince Abdul Aziz was ‘deeply involved’ in Saudi Oger Ltd, a company that was once owned by the family of Saad Hariri who resigned as Lebanese Prime Minister on the weekend.
The company ceased trading in the summer, fuelling speculation the Saudis forced Hariri to quit.
If confirmed, Prince Abdul will be the second royal in the kingdom to die in 24 hours.
A helicopter carrying a high-ranking Saudi prince and other government officials crashed Sunday in the kingdom’s south, reportedly killing all eight people aboard.
The Saudi Interior Ministry said early Monday that the crash happened in Saudi Arabia’s Asir province as the official took part in a tour of local projects near Abha, some 160 kilometers (100 miles) from the border with Yemen.
The Saudi-owned satellite news channel Al-Arabiya, based in Dubai, reported that the crash killed Prince Mansour bin Muqrin and seven others.
Saudi Prince Mansour bin Muqrin is thought to have died in a helicopter carrying officials crashes in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends the Future Investment Initiative (FII) conference in Riyadh, on October 24, 2017
Prince Mansour was the deputy governor of Asir province.
He was also 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 favor of Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, a counterterrorism czar and interior minister.
But in June, King Salman also ousted Prince Mohammed in favor of the king’s 32-year-old son, the now-Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as first in line to the throne.
All these moves have cemented the young crown prince’s position in power.
The arrests late Saturday of dozens of the country’s most powerful princes, military officers, influential businessmen and government ministers in a purported anti-corruption campaign have further cemented his control.
Saad Hariri declared his surprise resignation on Saturday from Riyadh which fuelled beliefs he was coerced into standing down against his will. Here he is pictured yesterday with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Although 11 princes and 38 former government ministers have been detained in the crackdown, the anti-corruption drive is expanding further.
Saudi Arabia’s central bank has ordered the detainees’ accounts to be frozen but have also added dozens of names to their list, according toBloomberg.
As a result, $25billion of personal wealth belonging to those arrested is at risk of being seized along with property and assets.
Saudi billionaire Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal – who is one of the richest men in the world and owns the British capital’s top hotel the Savoy – is one of the men who has been detained.
The Saudi information ministry also stated the government would seize any asset or property related to the alleged corruption, meaning London’s Savoy hotel could become state property in the kingdom.
Saudi Arabia has been leading a military coalition against Yemen’s Houthi rebels since March 2015.
Security officials gave no cause for the crash, but said a search of the wreckage was underway.
In Yemen, Houthi officials offered no immediate comment on the crash, while the group’s Al-Masirah satellite news channel reported only that the crash had occurred.