Saudi billionaire Prince bin Talal released from detention

Saudi Arabia uses aggression abroad to calm clerics at home

Saudi Arabia uses aggression abroad to calm clerics at home

More than 200 members of the Saudi elite, like royalty, businessmen and politicians have been held in an attempt to recover around $100 billion that officials say was misused over the course of decades in embezzlement schemes and corrupt business dealings. "There are just some discussions between me and the government", he said.

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal was released from detention, family sources said on Saturday.

He described his confinement as a misunderstanding and said he supports reform efforts by the crown prince.

He was initially thought to have been killed in a firefight while resisting arrest, but Saudi Arabia's Information Ministry later confirmed he was "alive and well".

The releases mark the end of the first phase of the declared anti-graft campaign, which sent shockwaves across the kingdom's business community and government when it was launched in November.

The prince, 62, is one of the world's wealthiest people, with investments in several major firms, including Citigroup, Lyft, Twitter and global hotel chains.

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He had a close relationship with former Citigroup Chief Executive Sanford "Sandy" Weill, and has nurtured close ties with other Wall Street leaders including Goldman Sachs chief executive Lloyd Blankfein.

In recent days, there have been signs the purge is winding down; several other prominent businessmen, including Waleed al-Ibrahim, owner of regional television network MBC, have reached financial settlements with authorities, an official source told Reuters on Friday, though terms were not revealed.

Several of those released from detention earlier appear to be returning to their lives as usual.

"I will not leave Saudi Arabia, for sure". "If that is all that it was, I wonder if anything will change". The government, however, has not named those detained nor discussed the specific allegations against them.

A senior Saudi official said Prince Alwaleed's release had come about after a financial settlement was reached with the attorney general. Government officials have denied that accusation. A Saudi official said he was accused of money laundering, bribery and extortion.

Alwaleed bin Talal and his fellow detainees weren't doing hard time. Al-Ibrahim's deal may have included his controlling share in MBC - the largest media company in the Middle East, reports said. Most of the roughly 350 men detained have been released after either being cleared or surrendering significant assets to the government. Hours after being released, he spoke with Reuters and told them that he's "continuing to maintain his innocence of any corruption in talks with authorities".

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