Saudi Crown Prince ‘uses corruption as excuse to tighten grip on country’
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is playing the corruption card to strengthen his control over the country, according to Transparency International co-founder Frank Vogl.
“Combine oil and multi-billion dollar investments flowing across the globe with authoritarian power – and you have the classic recipe for grand corruption,” Vogl said in an article titled “Anti-Corruption: Saudis Use China’s Playbook” on Nov. 12.
“Like so many other dictators who seek to boost their powers through populist appeals, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 32, backed by his father, King Salman bin Abdulaziz, is playing the corruption card,” he added.
Commenting on the recent arrests in the country, Vogl noted that the prince’s “domestic purge of actual and potential opponents, now underway, is a battle he must win.”
“Mohammed bin Salman is keen to strengthen his direct control over the nation’s internal security, its military and its staggering hoard of oil-produced cash. He is seeking to build a national base of support among the nation’s youth and here an anti-corruption campaign is likely to have strong appeal. Nepotism and embezzlement by the powerful are widespread complaints by young Saudis,” he said.
In his article, Vogl drew parallels between the prince and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
“Xi used corruption charges very effectively to move against perceived rivals and enemies. Mohammed bin Salman is now applying Xi’s medicine to once-powerful princes and some of the most prominent Saudi tycoons,” he said.
“The Chinese anti-corruption approach involves arresting people and prosecuting them without any form of due process. The same approach will be seen in Saudi Arabia. And, in both countries, there is no clear definition of corruption,” Vogl added.