Published: Mon, January 29, 2018
World News | By Laverne Osborne

MBC founder released by Saudi authorities from Ritz Carlton

MBC founder released by Saudi authorities from Ritz Carlton

In an interview with Reuters hours before his release, Talal said he expected "to keep full control of his investment firm without giving up assets to the government".

Officials say he will remain as head of his company, Kingdom Holding.

Observers said the campaign was actually meant to consolidate bin Salman's power and silence his critics.

Saudi Arabia's stock exchange Tadawul as a whole opened lower on Sunday, but rose the day 0.22 per cent higer.

Prior to his release, bin Talal had told the agency that he soon would be cleared from any wrongdoing, describing his charges as "discussions between me and the government".

The first major settlement was that of senior prince Miteb bin Abdullah, once seen as a leading contender to the throne, who was freed after agreeing to pay over $1 billion, according to Saudi officials. "I'm like at home, frankly speaking", Prince Alwaleed bin Talal said.

Prince Alwaleed appeared grayer and thinner than in his last public appearance, a television interview in late October previous year, and had grown a beard while in detention.

Saudi Arabia has released the owner of the influential Arab satellite network MBC almost three months after his arrest in an anti-corruption drive targeting the kingdom's elite, sources told AFP.

"The government is signalling that it wants to move to a new phase now, away from the crackdown and into other economic reforms", the banker said.

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"He has arrived home", one source in Prince Alwaleed's family told Reuters.

The Ritz-Carlton, which served as a gilded prison for the detainees, is set to reopen to the public next month, signaling a winding down of the government's campaign. I'm so comfortable, I'm so relaxed.

The prince said he was able to communicate with family members and executives at his business during his time of investigation.

Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal was also known for his outspokenness and his calls for a more open Saudi society.

He showed Reuters around his large hotel suite, including his private office, pantry, entrance hall and dining room.

Earlier this month, authorities in Saudi Arabia arrested 11 more princes following a gathering at a royal palace in the capital where they protested against austerity measures.

Saudi authorities expect to raise some $100 billion through settlements like that it reached with Alwaleed.

Several of those released from detention earlier appear to be returning to their lives as usual.

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