Published: Mon, January 29, 2018
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Prince Alwaleed reaches home, will remain under house arrest

Prince Alwaleed reaches home, will remain under house arrest

Prominent Saudi businessman Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has been released after more than two months of detention on allegations of corruption, according to a family source.

The departures from the hotel mark the end of the first phase of Prince Mohammed's anti-corruption campaign, which shook the kingdom when it was launched in November.

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.

The prince's release came just hours after Alwaleed told Reuters in an interview that he expected to go home soon and retain control of his company, calling his detention a "misunderstanding" and expressing support for the kingdom's rulers.

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

The government said most of those detained agreed monetary settlements in exchange for their freedom, which could earn state coffers about $100bn.(£70bn).

"Should the released detainees cross the crown prince again - perhaps by showing disloyalty to his vision through their business decisions - they could well find themselves back in fetters", a Stratfor brief said, adding that there may be a strain on the relationship between the released detainees and the government.

Saudi authorities said they aimed to reach financial settlements with most suspects and believed they could raise some $100bn for the government this way.

Prince Alwaleed told Reuters he was continuing to maintain his innocence of any corruption in talks with authorities.

He has a net worth, estimated by Forbes magazine, of $17 billion, and owns shares in Citigroup, Twitter, ride-hailing firm Lyft and Time Warner.

Prince Alwaleed had appeared frail in comparison to his last public appearance in a televised interview last October, but confirmed that he had been treated well, dismissing rumours that said otherwise. "I'm so comfortable, I'm like at home, frankly speaking".

They had their smartphones taken away, but could communicate with family or business executives during detention from phones in their rooms.

Kingdom Holding - in which he has a 95 percent stake - owns The Savoy in London, the Fairmont Plaza and the famed George V hotel in Paris.

In the corner of his office sat tennis shoes, which he said he used regularly for exercise.

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