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Saudi Arabia’s corruption-busting Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman reported as purchaser of record-breaking da Vinci

Up to date Dec eight, 2017 eight:22 AM EST

Saud Arabia’s crown prince stands out as the mysterious purchaser of a uncommon Leonardo da Vinci portray, a report within the Wall Road Journal recommended Thursday.

In accordance with the article, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, recognized to be a fan of the humanities, used a proxy to purchase the masterpiece. Nonetheless, the excessive profile buy, with a price ticket of practically half a billion , comes at a time when the Saudi prince is main an enormous corruption crackdown on his nation’s rich elite, CBS Information correspondent Holly Williams studies.

Regardless of the portray’s hefty charge, it was pocket change in comparison with the staggering misuse of public funds revealed by Financial system Minister Mohammed al Tuwaijri, who instructed CBS Information that 20 billion a 12 months has been misplaced to corruption.

“It is negligence. It is overspending in some initiatives, spending on pointless initiatives, and so forth and so forth,” Tuwaijri instructed CBS Information.

Al Tuwaijri took over as Saudi Arabia’s economic system minister after the earlier one was reportedly detained for corruption final month.

Certainly one of greater than 300 rounded up for questioning, a few of these arrested had been reportedly held in a luxurious lodge in Riyadh, together with a number of members of the Saudi royal household.

“No person, whether or not a prince or a minister or a businessman, is above the legislation,” Tuwaijri mentioned.

Nonetheless, some critics have accused the Crown Prince of utilizing the corruption crackdown as a solution to sideline or silence his rivals.

“Does he want that? You suppose he wants that?” Tuwaijri responded when the query was put to him. “He is the preferred chief we come throughout in our historical past,” he mentioned.

That may be true, Williams studies, however freedom of speech would not exist in Saudi Arabia, and criticizing the crown prince could be downright harmful. It is solely in London, England that Saudi dissident Ghanem al-Dosari dares to make movies satirizing the Saudi authorities.

And al-Dosari says corruption in Saudi Arabia is way larger than the present clampdown, Williams studies.

“Talking up your thoughts, it is a crime in Saudi Arabia. Folks has disappeared and been charged for tweets,” al-Dosari instructed CBS Information.

© 2017 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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