Official justifications notwithstanding, the sweep was widely seen as as a move to consolidate power around Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the 32-year-old heir to the Saudi throne now occupied by his father, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.
Hours before landing in Japan, the first stop of his 12-day Asia trip, the president tweeted his support for a US stock listing for the world's largest oil company: "Would very much appreciate Saudi Arabia doing their IPO of Aramco with the New York Stock Exchange".
Al-Arabiya reported that the committee is looking into devastating and deadly floods that overwhelmed parts of the city of Jeddah in 2009 and is investigating the Saudi government's response to the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus that has killed several hundred people in the past few years.
The kingdom's top council of clerics was quick to throw its support behind the royal decree, tweeting shortly after the announcement: "Fighting corruption is an obligation in Islamic sharia [law], a requirement of national interest, and combating it is just as important as the fight against terrorism".
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The government said the anti-corruption committee has the right to issue arrest warrants, impose travel restrictions and freeze bank accounts.
Saudi nationals have long complained of rampant corruption in government and of public funds being squandered or misused by people in power.
Saudi Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman in Moscow's Kremlin, Russia, May 30, 2017. He was replaced by Prince Khalid bin Ayyaf al-Muqrin, who had held a senior post with the guard.
Prince Miteb bin Abdullah is reportedly among those detained in the sweep, as is his brother, Prince Turki bin Abdullah, who was once governor of Riyadh.
Saudi intercepts missile targeting Riyadh from Yemen
Saudi Arabia has intercepted a ballistic missile fired across the border from Yemen targeting the King Khaled airport in Riyadh. A spokesman for the rebels said they fired a Burkan 2-H missile, a ballistic missile with a range of more than 500 miles.
Prince Alwaleed's father was the kingdom's finance minister during the 1960s.
Among those taken into custody overnight Saturday were billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, one of the world's richest men with extensive holdings in Western companies, as well as two of the late King Abdullah's sons.
In addition, Economy Minister Adel Fakieh was unseated by his subordinate, Mohammed al-Tuwaijri, the wire service says, according to state-run media.
He also sacked the Commander of the Naval Forces Admiral Abdullah bin Sultan bin Mohammed Al-Sultan and referred him to retirement.
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