REUTERS – SAMIA NAKHOUL, ANGUS MCDOWALL, STEPHEN KALIN
The first hint that something was amiss came in a letter.
On Saturday Nov. 4, guests at Riyadh’s Ritz Carlton were notified by the opulent hotel that: “Due to unforeseen booking by local authorities which requires an elevated level of security, we are unable to accommodate guests … until normal operations are restored.”
The purge was already under way. Within hours security forces had rounded up dozens of members of Saudi Arabia’s political and business elite, mostly in the capital and the coastal city of Jeddah. Among them were 11 princes as well as ministers and wealthy tycoons.
Some were invited to meetings where they were detained. Others were arrested at their homes and flown to Riyadh or driven to the Ritz Carlton, which has been turned into a temporary prison.