Saudi Arabian billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, detained in the kingdom’s sweeping crackdown on corruption, has been released from detention, family sources said on Saturday, more than two months after he was taken into custody.
“There are no charges. There are just some discussions between me and the government,” he said in the interview, conducted shortly after midnight. “I believe we are on the verge of finishing everything within days.”
One of the world's richest men has been released after being detained for months at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh. Just hours before he was freed, the Saudi Prince, Alwaleed bin Talal, gave reporters a tour of his 'jail' to dispel reported rumours that he had been tortured. http://bbc.in/2ByDk0x
Posted by BBC News on Saturday, January 27, 2018
“I have nothing to hide at all. I’m so comfortable, I’m so relaxed. I shave here, like at home. My barber comes here. I’m like at home, frankly speaking,” he said.
“I told the government I’d stay as much as they want, because I want the truth to come out on all my dealings and on all things that are around me.”
A 30-minute interview, including a tour of his suite, was granted largely in order to disprove rumours of mistreatment and of being moved from the hotel to a prison.
Prince Alwaleed showed off the comforts of his gold-accented private office, dining room and kitchen, which was fully stocked with his preferred vegetarian meals.
In the corner of his office sat tennis shoes, which he said he used regularly for exercise. A television played business news programmes, and a mug with an image of his own face on it was perched on the desk.
The release of Prince Alwaleed, whose net worth has been estimated by Forbes magazine at $17 billion, is likely to reassure investors in his global business empire as well as in the Saudi economy broadly.
Directly or indirectly through Kingdom Holding, he holds stakes in firms such as Twitter Inc and Citigroup Inc, and has invested in top hotels including the George V in Paris and the Plaza in New York.
Allegations against Prince Alwaleed included money laundering, bribery and extorting officials, a Saudi official said at the time.
He is also known for his outspoken views on politics – making headlines in 2015 when he called Donald Trump a “disgrace” on Twitter during the US election campaign.
The prince said he was able to communicate with family members and executives at his business during his time in detention.
Asked why he ended up held in the hotel and became one of its longest-serving detainees, he said: “There’s a misunderstanding and it’s being cleared. So I’d like to stay here until this thing is over completely and get out and life goes on.”
“We have now a new leadership in Saudi Arabia, and they just want to cross all the Ts and dot all the Is. And I said: ‘Fine, that’s fine with me, no problem at all. Just go ahead.'”
Prince Alwaleed said his own case was taking longer to conclude because he was determined to clear his name completely, but he believed the case was now 95 per cent finished.
The prince said he was particularly upset by media reports that he had been sent to prison and tortured. “It’s very unfortunate. I was planning to do an interview when I got out, which I think will be imminently.
“But I decided to accelerate the process and accept this interview today because these various rumours took place. They’re unacceptable completely. They are just a bunch of lies.”
After freedom, the prince said, he plans to continue living in Saudi Arabia and getting back to the high-paced and complex challenge of juggling his global interests.
“I will not leave Saudi Arabia, for sure. This is my country. I have my family, my children, my grandchildren here. I have my assets here. My allegiance is not on the table.”
Source Credit: Khaleej Times