Saudi Arabian billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who was detained for three months by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has now pledged support for the modernising royal.
Despite spending three months holed up at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel as part of Crown Prince Mohammed’s anti-corruption campaign, Prince Alwaleed says he completely backs his programme of sweeping reforms to Saudi Arabia.
He declared his support of his royal cousin on Twitter, posted alongside a photograph of the pair smiling and embracing after a meeting yesterday.
‘I was honoured to meet with my brother HRH the Crown Prince and to discuss economic matters and the private sector’s future & role in #Vision2030 success,’ he tweeted with the photograph.
‘I shall be one of the biggest supporters of the Vision through @Kingdom_KHC & all its affiliates,’ Prince Alwaleed added, referring to his international investment company.
Vision 2030 is Prince Mohammed’s scheme to wean the world’s top crude exporter off oil revenues and open up Saudis’ cloistered lifestyles.
Prince Alwaleed, the kingdom’s most recognised business figure, was freed in January after being held at Riyadh’s Ritz-Carlton Hotel along with scores of royals, senior officials and businessmen, most of whom reached financial settlements with the authorities.
He said in March he had cut a deal but declined to disclose the details.
In the absence of more information, speculation has run rampant about whether Prince Alwaleed secured his freedom by forfeiting part of his fortune – once estimated by Forbes magazine at $17 billion – or stood up to authorities and won.