Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) defended his anti-corruption crackdown as “extremely necessary” in an interview with Norah O’Donnell of CBS News’ 60 Minutes on Sunday.
“All actions taken were in accordance with existing and published laws,” Prince Mohammed insisted, doubtless well aware of allegations to the contrary.
The Crown Prince agreed with reports that over $100 billion was collected by the Saudi government in settlements with detainees but insisted the crackdown was not about clawing back money.
60 Minutes noted that Crown Prince Mohammed’s anti-corruption crackdown has been strongly supported by its highest-profile target, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, and by top MBS adviser Mohammed al-Sheikh, who estimated that up to 10 percent of the Saudi government’s annual spending was simply “disappearing” into corruption.
He portrayed his cultural reforms as an effort to return to what Saudi Arabia was like forty years ago.