Soon to be freed Saudi Prince Alwaleed’s parting words to media: ‘All lies’
As it turns out, Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal bears no grudge towards Saudi authorities and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.
He will not surrender any part of his $10bn Kingdom Holding as a condition of his release the next few days.
He was never in prison and he will not face trial of any sort.
He will be clear of any wrongdoing but his only problem, according to an exclusive interview with Reuters, is media reporting of his being jailed and tortured, saying: “It’s all Lies”.
“What triggered this discussion between me and you really are all the rumours that appeared, on the BBC especially, which upset me a lot. And it’s all lies, frankly speaking. I’ve been always all the time here at this hotel and everything’s been fine. I exercise, I stretch, I swim, I walk. I have my diet food. Everything’s fine; it’s like home,” he told Reuters.
Won’t leave the Ritz yet
During a 30-minute interview with Reuters at the Riyadh Carlton Ritz, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal said he was in the hotel on his own volition, having been cleared days ago and was permitted to leave after giving Saudi investigators access and information about his business activities for the duration of the detention.
“I believe we are on the verge of finishing everything within days,” he told Reuters, “There are no charges, just some discussions between me and the government on various matters that I cannot divulge right now. Everything’s fine.”
No accusations, no beef, all love
Prince Alwaleed said that in the anti-corruption campaign, many people left without being charge and he level of the prince’s involvement in so many projects nationally, regionally, internationally, took a while to go through.
“I told authorities to take their time, look at everything because I have nothing to hide. Everything’s pure and clean,” the Prince explained to Reuters.
“I read in Bloomberg, actually that they said the government wanted a big percentage of Kingdom Holding and would like to get $6 billion. All these are false.”
When asked whether this was in any way political, Prince Alwaleed answered:
“It has nothing to do with politics, nothing to do with economics, nothing to do with corruption. I will not leave Saudi Arabia, for sure. This is my country. I have my family, my children, my grandchildren here. I have my assets here. For sure. My allegiance is not on the table … For the king, crown prince, Saudi Arabia, it’s non-negotiable.”
“I can only say I‘m supporting the king and crown prince in all the efforts they’re doing to really have a new Saudi Arabia.”
Four prominent Saudis released
According to Bloomberg, Waleed al-Ibrahim, head of the Dubai-based Middle East Broadcasting Center (MBC), and Fawaz Al Hokair, the billionaire founder of one of the country’s largest retailers, were among those released, a government official told the media on condition of anonymity.
“Khaled al-Tuwaijri, head of the royal court under the late King Abdullah, and Prince Turki bin Nasser who was involved in a massive arms deal that led to corruption probes in the U.K. and the U.S. were also released,” said Bloomberg.
“The releases mark the end of the first phase of the declared anti-corruption campaign.”
During his detention, MBC’s al-Ibrahim was pressured by the government to give up a controlling stake in his company, according to two people familiar with the matter telling Bloomberg.