Wealthiest Saudi Prince Reportedly Pressured to Pay $6b for Freedom

Wealthiest Saudi Prince Reportedly Pressured to Pay $6b for FreedomWealthiest Saudi Prince Reportedly Pressured to Pay $6b for Freedom

The Wall Street Journal has published a report suggesting that the Saudi government ordered Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, who is allegedly held in a luxurious Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh, to pay some $6 billion in exchange for his release.

However, the prince is reportedly having a behind-the-scenes contest with the authorities to avoid paying the huge sum of cash, an amount that would inflict a painful blow to his business enterprises. The prince owns the Kingdom Holding global investment company, which holds stakes in international corporations as micro-blogging platform Twitter, the ride-sharing firm Lyft, and the Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts.

Dozens of princes, ministers, and former ministers were detained last month on the orders of Saudi Arabia’s so-called Anti-Corruption Committee, which is headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The detained individuals are facing corruption allegations but are widely believed to have been victims of a political purge.

Bin Talal, 62, is now apparently struggling to persuade the government to take a stake in his company in exchange for freedom and a chance to remain in control of his firms, according to lawyer Salah Al-Hejailan, who used to work with the prince.

An unnamed source close to the prince has said to the WSJ that bin Talal is determined to fight in the court for his wealth, giving a “hard time” to bin Salman, who is also his cousin.

The news comes as Senior Prince Miteb, a son of King Abdullah was allegedly freed from detention after admitting to corruption and paying $1 billion.

There has been a lack of information on the ongoing anti-corruption purge in Saudi Arabia with ubiquitous rumors in the media suggesting that bin Salman could use it to tighten his grip on power.


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