“He has arrived home,” one source in Prince Alwaleed’s family told Reuters.
The 62-year-old Bin Talal was taken into custody in late November along with 200 dignitaries and top officials, over allegations of money laundering, corruption and extortion.
The massive, unprecedented purge came hours after a Saudi royal decree announced the formation of an anti-corruption commission headed by the Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, who promptly ordered a high-profile cabinet reshuffle, claiming that over USD 100 billion had been lost to embezzlement and corruption in the past decades.
The news of Prince Bin Talal’s arrest made headlines worldwide, sending shock waves both through the Arabic speaking world and international major financial circles. The billionaire is not only renowned for his progressivist ideologies, but also for his impressive wealth.
With a fortune of USD 18 billion according to the Bloomberg Billionaires index, Bin Talal controls the Kingdom Holding investment firm, and owns major stakes in News Corp, Citigroup, Twitter and many other international corporations. The prince also owns many satellite television networks watched across the Arab world.
The shares in Kingdom Holding, an international investment company of which 95 percent is owned by Bin Talal, fell by 9.9 percent the day after the crackdown.
In late December, the Wall Street Journal revealed that Saudi authorities had ordered Prince Al Waleed bin Talal to pay at least USD 6 billion in exchange for his freedom.
According to Bin Talal’s lawyer Salah Al-Hejailan, who used to work with him, the Saudi prince was “struggling to persuade the government to take a stake within his company, Kingdom Holding, which has a market value of nearly USD 9 billion, in exchange for freedom and to remain in control of his firms.”
A senior Saudi official told the daily that Prince Alwaleed’s release had come about after “a financial settlement was reached with the attorney general,” adding the prince returned home at 11.00 A.M., without providing further details on the terms.