Saudi Arabia Still an Investment Hub, Investcorp Says

Cheryl Sanders
January 30, 2018

Saudi billionaire Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal was released on Saturday after almost three months in detention following a "settlement" with authorities, as a sweeping anti-corruption campaign targeting the kingdom's elite winds down.

"Those released have either admitted to the charges against them or settled with the government, or there was not sufficient evidence to support the charges against them".

"The estimated value of settlements now stands at more than 400 billion riyals" - €86 billion - "represented in various types of assets, including real estate, commercial entities, securities, cash and other assets", Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb said in a statement. "The attorney general this morning approved the settlement with Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal", paving the way for his release, a government source told AFP without disclosing figures.

The man dubbed the Warren Buffett of Saudi Arabia was released on Saturday after striking an undisclosed financial agreement with the authorities.

Saudis may squeeze more than $100bn from arrested billionaires in "corruption purge" Saudi Arabia may collect more than the originally planned $100 billion from the detainees in the world's most luxurious prison - the Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh - Bloomberg reports, quoting its sources.

The attorney general refused to make settlements with 56 people due to other pending criminal cases against them and in order to complete the investigation process as required by the law.

The gains came on top of a 10 per cent rise on Sunday - the stock's best one day performance since 2014 - following the prince's release on Saturday.

In November, Saudi Arabia's crown prince Mohammad bin-Salman, who replaced his elder cousin Mohammad bin-Nayef to become next in line to the throne after his father King Salman by a royal decree further tightened his grip on power as the newly formed anti-corruption committee arrested scores of princes, senior officials, incumbent ministers, and businessmen in a corruption crackdown.

The government said most of those detained agreed monetary settlements in exchange for their freedom. The kingdom's budget deficit in 2017 was estimated at $61 billion, showing a steady decline from $79 billion in 2016 and $98 billion in 2015.

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