Saudi billionaire released after arrest in corruption shake-up

Saudi Arabia uses aggression abroad to calm clerics at home

Detained for almost three months, he was released on Saturday after striking an undisclosed financial agreement with the authorities, a government source said. He will remain at the helm of his company, the official said, declining to provide the other terms of the deal.

Critics say the crown prince, who is King Salman's son and heir, has used the purported anti-corruption campaign to sideline potential rivals and critics, and seize control of influential businesses run by numerous scions detained in the probe.

In a 30 minutes Televised interview with Reuters, Prince Al Waleed bin Talal said: "I have nothing to hide at all".

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

Neither the prince nor the Saudi information ministry was available for comment.

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. Others have been transferred to prison to face trial, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Prince Al-Waleed, who has been dubbed "the Warren Buffett of Saudi Arabia", is one of 350 suspects who have been arrested since November 4 as part of a widespread corruption investigation.

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

"I will not leave Saudi Arabia, for sure". "If that is all that it was, I wonder if anything will change". "I have my office here", Prince Al Waleed said. He was one of 17 princes and top officials who were arrested in November in the government crackdown.

"There's a high possibility that this marks the end of almost the first stage and that more arrests will happen later this year", said CEO and founder of risk consulting firm Gulf State Analytics Giorgio Cafiero.

Those detained were accused of bribery, money laundering as well as extorting officials.

Prince Al-Waleed is the latest in a series of high-profile detainees to be freed from the hotel, as the campaign against elite corruption launched by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman draws to a close. His release came hours after he told Reuters in an interview at the hotel in Riyadh that he expected to be cleared of any wrongdoing and be released from custody within days, without giving up control of his Riyadh-based conglomerate Kingdom Holding.

Al-Tuwijri said that target was "realistic". The Prince however said, "There are no charges". "There is a significant flight-of-capital risk".

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