Saudi billionaire Alwaleed 'released' from detention

Saudi billionaire Alwaleed 'released' from detention

Saudi billionaire Alwaleed 'released' from detention

On November 9, more than 200 influential people including princes and ranking officials were summoned for questioning, and a lot of them were detained in one of the most luxurious hotels Ritz-Carlton. Most of the roughly 350 men detained have been released after either being cleared or surrendering significant assets to the government.

The decision to free him, and the release of several other well-known tycoons on Friday, suggested the main part of the corruption probe was winding down.

Prince Alwaleed gave an interview to Reuters news agency prior to his release.

Most detainees agreed on financial settlements in "cash, real estate and other assets", Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television reported last week.

The prince, one of the nation's most prominent tycoons, said he was continuing to maintain his innocence of any corruption in talks with authorities.

"If they can just go back to their old jobs, it would appear that the campaign was just a warning signal, and an effort to raise money", said Gregory Gause, a professor of worldwide affairs and Saudi specialist at Texas A&M University.

The purge has pleased some Saudis by showing that Prince Mohammed's economic shakeup is affecting the wealthy as well as the poor, said Tom Coghlan, director for the Middle East and North Africa at K2 Intelligence in London.

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The prince (62) had been held at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, since November 4th, when he was detained in the anti-corruption drive being spearheaded by his cousin, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, King Salman's son and heir to the throne.

The conditions of his freedom are unclear, and the country's ministry of information said it would not comment on his situation.

Dozens of princes, businessmen and officials have been detained and questioned since, with many paying hefty settlements for their release.

According to the billionaire prince, the interview was granted in order to dispel rumours of mistreatment by Saudi authorities.

The source said, "The attorney general this morning approved the settlement with Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal". I'm so comfortable, I'm so relaxed.

With a net worth of $17bn, he had also invested in top hotels including the George V (Paris) and the Plaza (New York).

They had their smartphones taken away, but could communicate with family or business executives during detention from phones in their rooms. His refrigerator was stocked with vegetarian meals as requested and he had tennis shoes for exercise, as well as a mug with an image of his face on it, according to Reuters.

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