Jailed Saudi Tycoon Prince Talal Offers to Pay Up for Freedom

Jailed Saudi Tycoon Prince Talal Offers to Pay Up for FreedomJailed Saudi Tycoon Prince Talal Offers to Pay Up for Freedom

Saudi Arabia’s most famous billionaire prince, Alwaleed bin Talal, is negotiating a possible settlement with authorities in return for ending his two months detention in a so-called anti-corruption crackdown.

According to a senior Saudi official who spoke to Reuters, a sum has not yet been agreed, The New Arab reported.

“He offered a certain figure but it doesn’t meet the figure required from him, and until today the attorney-general hasn’t approved it,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

A second source familiar with bin Talal’s case told Reuters on Saturday that the price had offered to make a “donation” to the Saudi government, which would avoid any admission of wrongdoing, and to do so from assets of his own choosing.

The government refused those terms, the source said.

Reuters said the prince’s Kingdom Holding company’s share price jumped as much as 9.8% on Sunday in response to news of the negotiations, adding about $860 million to the company’s capitalization.

The stock price was still seven percent below its level just before bin Talal was detained.

Since early November bin Talal has been held—along with dozens of other members of Saudi Arabia’s political and business elite detained in the crackdown—in Riyadh’s opulent Ritz Carlton hotel as authorities seek to reach settlements with the detainees.

Saudi officials say they aim to claw back some $100 billion of funds that “rightfully belong to the state”. Critics say this amounts to a shakedown to boost the plans of the powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Bin Talal made headlines in 2015 when he called US President Donald Trump a “disgrace” on Twitter during the US election campaign.



Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints