Prince Is Free Again, but It May Have Cost a Fortune

Saudi billionaire Prince al-Waleed bin Talal is released after corruption bust
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 27, 2018 9:00 AM CST
A file photo of Saudi billionaire Prince al-Waleed bin Talal.   (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed, File)

(Newser) – One of the richest men in the world is once again a free man, but it may have cost him a fortune. Saudi billionaire Prince al-Waleed bin Talal walked out of prison Saturday after being arrested on corruption charges as part of a sweeping roundup in November, reports Reuters. More precisely, he walked out of the Riyadh Ritz-Carlton, which has been turned into a prison of sorts for Saudi elite accused of wrongdoing. Prior to his release, Saudi authorities were reportedly seeking a financial settlement of $6 billion—yes, billion—from al-Waleed, though it is unclear what, if any, amount he paid, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Neither the prince nor Saudi authorities have provided details about his release, including whether he has been cleared of wrongdoing. The corruption crackdown set in place by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is widely regarded as more of a bid on his part to consolidate power as he institutes wide-ranging reform throughout the country. So far, the government has secured about $100 billion in settlements from those rounded up, though nearly 100 have not paid and face prosecution.

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