The crackdown has triggered uncertainty among businesses that could intensify capital flight or derail reforms, experts say, at a time when the kingdom is seeking to attract badly needed investments amid a protracted oil slump.Authorities have frozen the bank accounts of the accused and warned that any assets related to the corruption cases would be seized as state property.'It is worth clarifying that concerned individual accounts rather than their corporate businesses have been put in suspension until final court rulings,' central bank chief Ahmed Abdulkarim Al Kholifey said in a statement.So far at least 11 princes and 38 former government ministers have been detained in the crackdown ordered by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, though there are said to be more names on the hit list.
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.
'In other words, corporate businesses remain unaffected.
'It is business as usual for both banks and corporates,' he said, adding that there were no restrictions on money transfers through legal banking channels.
The dramatic clampdown on business figures could deal a blow to investor confidence,potentially derailing sweeping Vision 2030 reforms, the brainchild of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The purge underscores an unprecedented restructuring of the kingdom as Prince Mohammed dismantles a governance model involving consensus within the royal family, while he amasses extraordinary power.'The structure of dynastic rule established over the past few decades is being reshaped into a more centralised monarchical system,' said Jane Kinninmont, of London-based think tank Chatham House.'MBS is disrupting the model of Saudi government,' Kinninmont said using an acronym widely used for the crown prince.
His anti-graft campaign follows other bold moves, including a royal decree allowing women to drive from next June and clipping the powers of the religious police.