How Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Purged Rival…

The first hint that something was amiss came in a letter.

On Nov. 4, guests at Riyadh’s Ritz-Carlton were notified by the opulent hotel that: “Due to unforeseen booking by local authorities which requires an elevated level of security, we are unable to accommodate guests … until normal operations are restored.”

The purge was already under way. Within hours security forces had rounded up dozens of members of Saudi Arabia’s political and business elite, mostly in the capital and the coastal city of Jeddah . Among them were 11 princes as well as ministers and wealthy tycoons.

Some were invited to meetings where they were detained. Others were arrested at their homes and flown to Riyadh or driven to the Ritz-Carlton, which has been turned into a temporary prison.

Related: Young Prince Aims to Rebrand Saudi Arabia

The detainees were allowed a single, brief phone call home, a person familiar with the arrests told Reuters.

“They don’t receive calls and are kept under tight security. No one can go in or out,” the insider said. “It is obvious that there was a lot of preparation for it.”




Image:  Future Investment Initiative (FII) conference in Riyadh

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman