Video footage emerged on Tuesday showing how the luxury hotel has been turned into a bizarre prison camp where some of the country’s richest and most powerful individuals are reduced to sleeping in blankets on the floor.
Some 49 members of the Saudi elite including 11 princes are facing charges of money laundering, bribery, extortion, and abuse of public office after being rounded up in an extraordinary series of arrests in the early hours of Sunday morning in an anti-corruption purge.
The arrests sent shock waves through the country and have been interpreted by some as a purge of rivals to Mohammed bin Salman, the 32-year-old crown prince of Saudi Arabia.
“There is no jail for royals,” said a Saudi businessman with ties to the government.
“The purge is one thing, but a prince cannot be seen imprisoning fellow princes along with common criminals. “Choosing that hotel it is a sign to the world: Mohammed bin Salman is in charge and no one is too rich to be brought down. The palace can become a prison.”
The Saudi information ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that there was “no truth” in rumours circulating online that another prince, Prince Abdulaziz bin Fahd, a son of the late king Fahd, had been killed resisting arrest on Saturday night.
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