Just hours after a Reuters interview with reporter Katie Paul, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal was released from his cushy confines in the Ritz Carlton, Riyadh, where he and other prominent businessmen and royals have been detained in a crackdown on corruption in Saudi Arabia that started in November.
Prince Alwaleed gave a tour of his large suite at the Ritz Carlton in Riyadh, showing Reuters how he lived to dispel rumors of his mistreatment. The flamboyant prince, who has been the face of Saudi business in the west with investments in Citigroup, Twitter, and prominent international hotels, called his detention a “misunderstanding” that “would be settled in days.” It turned out to be just hours. He was released on Saturday shortly after the interview with Reuters and subsequently returned to his home in Riyadh.
Shares of Prince Alwaleed’s Kingdom Holding Co. soared 10% upon news of his release, the highest single-day growth permitted on the Saudi stock exchange. A Saudi official, who was not named, was quoted as saying the Prince agreed to a settlement but did not name the amount.
Prince Alwaleed was one of the highest profile detainees at the Ritz but was just one of dozens of Saudi billionaires and royals who were detained at the Ritz since the crackdown started. Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, former head of the Saudi national guard and son of the late King Abdullah, was reportedly released for a $1 billion settlement. Former finance minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf was released after his name was cleared, and has since returned as advisor to King Salman and led Saudi Arabia’s delegation to the World Economic Forum last week in Davos, Switzerland.
This weekend, MBC TV mogul Waleed al-Ibrahim, retail magnate Fawaz Alhokair and Prince Turki bin Nasser were all released along with Prince Alwaleed.
“We are at a very final stage of the Ritz-Carlton situation. Hopefully it’s going to be days before the hotel opens up,” Economy Minister Mohammed Al-Tuwaijri told CNNMoney’s emerging markets editor John Defterios.