Saudi King issues royal orders

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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.

Other detainees include Alwaleed al-Ibrahim, owner and chairman of Dubai-based Middle East Broadcasting Center (MBC), which is the Arab world's leading satellite television network.

Earlier, Kingdom Holding reported it swung to a third quarter profit after restating the same year ago period to a loss. 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.

Bloomberg quoted a senior Saudi official as saying that 11 princes and 38 current or former senior officials were arrested. The 62-year-old is one of the largest shareholders in Citigroup and also owns stakes in News Corp and Twitter.

Rumours have swirled since then that King Salman and his favourite son would soon move against Mutaib, commander of the third armed force and himself a former contender for the crown.

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

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Kingdom Holding did not respond to requests for comment from The National.

"The homeland will not exist unless corruption is uprooted and the corrupt are held accountable", the royal decree said.

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

The commission will also be responsible for launching "investigations, issuing arrest warrants, travel bans, disclosing and freezing bank accounts and tracking funds".

Hours before landing in Japan, the first stop of his 12-day Asia trip, the president tweeted his support for a US stock listing for the world's largest oil company: "Would very much appreciate Saudi Arabia doing their IPO of Aramco with the New York Stock Exchange".

President Trump has spoken with the king of Saudi Arabia to offer a wholehearted endorsement of a drive to modernize the kingdom, as the Saudi authorities arrested scores of prominent business people and ministers in a sweeping anti-corruption crackdown.

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