Major Hollywood and technology investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has been freed from detention by the Saudi government. He had been held since November on somewhat nebulous corruption charges, along with several other prominent Saudi royalty and business people.
Alwaleed bin Talal and his fellow detainees weren’t doing hard time. They were ensconced at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh, a luxury hotel that serves as an international business hub. Alwaleed is the chairman of Kingdom Holding Co. which has stakes in Twitter, Time Warner, Citigroup, Apple, Motorola and many other well-known companies, as well as several satellite television networks that are prominent in the Arab world.
At one point, officials were allegedly asking for a $6 billion fine to free bin Talal. Today’s report on his release mentioned a settlement, but no specifics. Alwaleed bin Talal will remain as te head of Kingdom Holdings, according to reports.
His arrest came as part of a power struggle to consolidate the grip of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the top adviser of King Salman. At age 32, the Crown Prince is a major voice in Saudi foreign relations, military, economics and social policies, drawing grumbling from other royals.
King Salman decreed a new anti-corruption committee, headed by the crown prince, hours before the arrests. The committee’s broad powers included freezing assets, arrests, travel bans and other areas, all part of any alleged investigation into corruption.
The Saudi government has not revealed details on the alleged graft that caused the arrests. al-Waleed and other royals and business people.