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No deal: Saudi Alwaleed’s freedom denied after negotiations fail

January 2, 2018 3:00 pm


Saudi detainees who agree to corruption charges or at least agree to paying what price Saudi authorities believe is needed to clear those charges, are freed.

Recently, Saudi has released two sons of late king Abdullah, Prince Faisal bin Abdullah, a former head of the Saudi Red Crescent, and Prince Mashal bin Abdullah, a previous governor of Makkah.

Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, was freed in late November three weeks into detention after reportedly paying more than $1 billion.

Authorities are trying to recoup some $100bn and these high profile detainees are among many already released.

Those who don’t pay, stay in detention, and face a more serious fate.

And now it looks like Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is refusing to negotiate, after a deal with authorities is reported to have reached a dead end, according to Bloomberg.

“Sources say Saudi billionaire is balking at demands that could see him relinquish control of Kingdom Holding,” said Bloomberg.

Read: Resolve or dissolve: Prince Alwaleed may lose control of Kingdom Holding

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Is Alwaleed facing trial?

Detention crisis growing

Bloomberg says that talks on a settlement have hit an impasse regarding Alwaleed’s global business empire.

It was reported the Prince was willing to sell a majority stake in the $9-$10bn Kingdom Holding in return for the $6bn that Saudi authorities had reportedly asked in order to release him.

“People with knowledge of the matter say Alwaleed is balking at demands that could see him relinquish control of Kingdom Holding Co. He also is resisting any suggestion of wrongdoing because of the impact it would have on his reputation, they said,” according to Bloomberg.

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The 62-year-old nephew of King Salman’s net worth has declined by about $2bn to $18bn since his detention, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Failure to reach a deal will likely throw the case to the courts, according to published reports.

|The corruption probe had to take place without delay so investors “know it’s a level playing field,” Commerce and Investment Minister Majid Al-Qasabi said in an interview on December 13 in Riyadh. “We can’t tolerate the perception that you have to corrupt officials to get into a business in Saudi Arabia,” he said. Asked about Alwaleed, the minister said the billionaire prince was “negotiating his settlement.”

Prince Talal ailing from hunger strike?

Middle East Eye (MEE), an independently funded online news organisation, published an exclusive report saying that Prince Talal, Alwaleed’s father has been on hunger strike since 10 November to protest the arrests in the corruption campaign, including those of his eldest son Alwaleed and two other sons.

“The 86-year-old prince, who is the half brother of King Salman, has lost 10 kilos in one month,” said MEE.

“His condition at the King Faisal Hospital in Riyadh remains weak, according to several people who have visited him.”

MEE said that Khalid bin Talal lobbied for his brother Alwaleed’s release and was subsequently arrested along with another younger brother.

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Malta detainee connection   

Malta Independent Online (MIO) said that Waleed Al Ibrahim, is a naturalised/registered citizen of Malta since 2016, and is not yet known if he has been under arrest since the November 4, 2017 corruption crackdown.

“This newspaper does not yet know whether Al-Ibrahim remains detained. Questions that have been sent to the Saudi Arabian embassy in this regard remain unanswered,” said IMO.

Waleed Al Ibrahim, a billionaire, is the founder of Middle East Broadcasting Centre, which owns satellite television channel Al Arabiya.

 

 

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By Hadi Khatib
Hadi Khatib is a business editor with more than 15 years' experience delivering news and copy of relevance to a wide range of audiences. If newsworthy and actionable, you will find this editor interested in hearing about your sector developments and writing about it.



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