Saudi authorities want at least $6billion from jailed Saudi Prince al-Waleed bin Talal to secure his freedom after he was arrested in a supposed anti-corruption purge.
This is the highest sum demanded so far by authorities in the Gulf state, and could involve handing over a large part of his conglomerate, Kingdom Holding Company, which has a market value of $9 billion.
Most of the princes detained at the five-star Ritz Carlton in Riyadh after being arrested in November have already paid large sums to secure their release.
Al-Waleed, 62, is the 57th-richest person in the world with an $18billion fortune, according to the Wall Street Journal, which quoted sources who said he is trying to strike a deal for his release.
Dozens of high-profile figures including princes, ministers and tycoons are still being held in the Ritz-Carlton now a makeshift luxury prison, in the biggest sweep of the kingdom’s elite in its recent history.
Some 320 people were called in for questioning and 159 people are currently being detained, many of whom have agreed to a ‘settlement’, or handing over allegedly ill-gotten gains to the Saudi state treasury, attorney general Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb said.
‘The necessary arrangements are being finalised to conclude such agreements,’ Mojeb said in a statement.
The attorney general has previously said he estimates at least $100 billion has been lost in embezzlement or corruption over several decades.
His latest statement comes after Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, the former National Guard chief once seen as a contender to the throne, was released last week following a settlement reportedly exceeding $1 billion.
Source Credit: Daily Mail