TEHRAN (Press Shia) – Saudi Arabian billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, detained in the kingdom’s so-called sweeping crackdown on corruption, said on Saturday that he expected to be cleared of any wrongdoing and be released from custody within days.
Alwaleed was speaking in an exclusive interview with Reuters at his suite in Riyadh’s opulent Ritz-Carlton hotel, where he has been held for over two months along with dozens of other suspects.
The prince, one of the kingdom’s most prominent tycoons, said he was continuing to maintain his innocence of any corruption in talks with authorities. He said he expected to keep full control of his global investment firm Kingdom Holding without being required to give up assets to the government.
The arrest of royals and top business elite capped a frenetic almost three years of growing power by Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman (MbS). It was seen as another pre-emptive step by the crown prince to remove powerful figures as he exerts control over the world’s leading oil exporter.
The roundup recalled the meticulously planned palace coup in June through which MbS ousted his elder cousin, Mohammed bin Nayef, as heir to the throne, interior minister and veteran head of the kingdom’s formidable security apparatus.
In September, he rounded up and jailed religious and intellectual opponents.