Wednesday, May 23, 2018
The Saudi Royal family on Wednesday released a photograph of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman in an apparent bid to quash speculation propagated by the Iranian and Russian media that he has been assassinated.
Salman had not been seen since April 21. Iranian media reported that there had been a coup attempt against him. Video were posted on social media showing heavy gunfire outside the palace in Riyadh with claims of an uprising underway at the royal palace.
Iranian media speculated that Prince Salman had been arrested or that he was even killed during the 'coup'.
Iran's Kayhan newspaper claimed: 'At least two bullets have hit bin Salman in April 21 clashes in Riyadh and it is even possible that he is dead.' The paper questioned why the crown prince was not pictured when US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo paid his first visit to Saudi Arabia Riyadh in late April - but King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir were pictured.
'There is plenty of evidence to suggest that the absence of nearly 30 days of Muhammad bin Sulman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, is due to an incident which is being hidden from the public,' Kayhan claimed.
But now the prince's press spokesman has tweeted pictures of him chairing a meeting of the Council for Economic and Development Affairs.
As part of Prince Salman’s drive against corruption, dozens of princes, senior officials and top businessmen were detained and confined in the opulent Ritz-Carlton Riyadh as the government launched the purge in early November.
While the hotel is no longer being used as a detention centre, some of those held there have instead been moved to prison.
Saudi Arabian attorney general Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb said on Tuesday that 56 corruption suspects were still in custody out of 381 high profile figures detained on graft allegations.
He said he has decided to release all those proven not guilty and others who had agreed financial settlements with the government after admitting to corruption allegations.
Mojeb also said that total settlements with the suspects had topped 400 billion riyals ($107 billion) in various forms of assets.