Saudi billionaire Prince Al-Waleed freed after ‘settlement’

Saudi billionaire Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal was released on Saturday after nearly three months in detention following a “settlement” with authorities, as a sweeping anti-corruption campaign targeting the kingdom’s elite winds down. Prince Al-Waleed, dubbed the Warren Buffett of Saudi Arabia, was the most high-profile detainee among 350 suspects rounded up since November 4, including business tycoons and ministers, who were held in Riyadh’s luxury Ritz-Carlton hotel. The prince was released following an undisclosed financial agreement with the government, similar to deals that authorities struck with most other detainees in exchange for their freedom. “The attorney general this morning approved the settlement with Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal,” paving the way for his release, a government source said without disclosing figures. When asked whether the prince was still the head of his publicly listed Kingdom Holding Company, the source replied: “For sure.” A business associate confirmed to AFP that the tycoon had been released. The Saudi information ministry did not respond to requests for comment. Prince Al-Waleed is the latest in a series of high-profile detainees to be freed from the hotel, as the campaign launched by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman draws to a close. Authorities on Friday released media mogul Waleed al-Ibrahim, owner of influential Arab satellite network MBC. Ibrahim held a family gathering at his residence after his release, three MBC employees told AFP on condition of anonymity. The staff also received an official e-mail congratulating them on his freedom. $100 billion in settlements The Financial Times reported… [Read full story]

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