Report claims Saudi king, 81, to hand reins to son next week

Report claims Saudi king, 81, to hand reins to son next week

With the arrests of eleven princes and some 200 tycoons in Saudi Arabia, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman made clear that he will resort to any means necessary to solidify his ascent to power upon the death or abdication of his 81-year-old father, King Salman.

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz received at Al-Yamamah Palace in Riyadh on Thursday French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Saudi Arabia is now experiencing a period of dramatic change spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammad, who is seen as the driving force behind the kingdom's ambitious economic and social plans.

The number of the arrestees in the recent purge reportedly stood at more than 500, and twice that number had been questioned.

Authorities in Saudi Arabia are offering businessmen and members of the royal family detained on allegations of corruption an opportunity to pay for their freedom, according to media reports.

Some are being asked to hand over as much as 70% of their wealth, a source familiar with events said.

More news: Analysts' Recommendations in Limelight: Rite Aid Corp (RAD)

Concerned Saudi investors have expressed fears that Swiss banking authorities will freeze their accounts at the request of the Saudi government, and they are more likey to be frozen, said Caputo.

While Israel and Saudi Arabia do not have official ties, both countries are seen as united against Iran, which sponsors Hezbollah.

Saudi officials are seeking to appropriate billions of dollars from captured princes and businessman in exchange for their release.

Riyadh has taken on more aggressive policies since bin Salman's elevation to the position of defense minister and deputy crown prince in 2015, and later to the position of crown prince.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is trying to use the anti-corruption purge as a way of boosting his popularity with the Saudi population, said Jason Tuvey, Middle East economist at Capital Economics.

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