Saudi prince suspected of corruption released

Eileen GuzmanJan 29, 2018

The prince was released hours after he told the agency that he expected to be cleared of any wrongdoing and freed within a few days.

A senior Saudi official said a week ago the kingdom expects to reap more than US$100 billion (S$131 billion) from settlements made by detainees.

Authorities on January 26 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.

Shares in Riyadh-listed global investment company Kingdom Holding soared at the opening on Sunday after the company's owner, Prince, was released after being detained for over two months in a corruption probe.

Despite being accused of money laundering, extorting officials and bribery, he said that there will be no charges against him: "There are just some discussions between me and the government".

Outside Prince Alwaleed's Riyadh palace, dozens of cars lined the entrances, as a huge Saudi flag flapped above.

The terms of his release are unclear but the government has said that most detainees have agreed on financial settlements in exchange for their freedom as the anti-corruption campaign winds down.

Saudi Arabia, the world's largest exporter of oil, recently announced reforms that included the cutting of subsidies, the introduction of value-added tax (VAT), and the end of most perks for royal family members. "I have my office here", Prince Al Waleed said.

Middle East Eye, quoting undisclosed sources reports that Prince Talal was released from Hotel Ritz-Carlton and arrived home.

Over 200 Saudi businessmen and royals were rounded up in November 2017 in an anti-corruption probe spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

Also released after agreeing to settlements were Khalid al-Tuwaijri, head of the royal court under the late King Abdullah, and Prince Turki bin Nasser, who was involved in a massive arms sale that led to corruption probes in the United Kingdom and the U.S., one of the government officials said.

About 95 people still remain under detention.

Earlier this week, Saudi Attorney General Saud al-Mojeb was quoted in local media as saying some 90 detainees had been released after agreeing to settlements involving cash, real estate and other assets.

A senior Saudi official told CNN that the government had also seized 1.4 billion square meters of land.

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