Saudi billionaire Al-Waleed denies reports of torture during detention at Ritz-Carlton hotel, says 'all is forgiven'

Al-Waleed bin Talal says all is forgiven after his three-month detention in an anti-corruption crackdown.

AFP March 20, 2018 17:42:54 IST
Saudi billionaire Al-Waleed denies reports of torture during detention at Ritz-Carlton hotel, says 'all is forgiven'

Riyadh: Billionaire Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal says all is forgiven after his three-month detention in an anti-corruption crackdown, dismissing speculation he had forfeited control of his assets in exchange for his freedom.

The prince, dubbed the Warren Buffett of Saudi Arabia, was released from the now-notorious Ritz-Carlton hotel in early January after an undisclosed financial agreement with the government.

Saudi billionaire AlWaleed denies reports of torture during detention at RitzCarlton hotel says all is forgiven

File image of Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal. Reuters

"I am not a person who is going to say I forgive but I don't forget. I say I forgive and I forget at the same time," Prince Al-Waleed said in an interview with Bloomberg News published on Tuesday.

"It's business as usual. We are going to continue investing in Saudi Arabia. I was born in Saudi Arabia, I will die in Saudi Arabia."

The prince refused to divulge the terms of his release, which he described as a "confidential and secret agreement".

The agreement had, however, left him free to function normally with "zero guilt" and "zero conditions," he said.

Al-Waleed was the most high-profile detainee among 350 suspects rounded up since 4 November, including business tycoons and ministers, who were held in Riyadh's luxury Ritz-Carlton.

The prolonged detention of Prince Al-Waleed, ranked among the richest men in the world, had sent shock waves across a host of companies that count him as a major investor.

A Saudi official told AFP that the prince's release came after a monetary settlement similar to deals that authorities struck with most other detainees in exchange for their freedom.

He revealed no figures.

Attorney General Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb, however, has said that $107 billion has been recovered in the crackdown in various forms of assets handed over that included property, securities and cash.

Al-Waleed also denied reports he had been tortured or subject to mistreatment behind bars.

"I was never tortured," he said.

"Actually, I was given the best service. Doctors used to come twice a day. We had the best service, best food, best everything."

The prince asserted that he was firmly in control of his Riyadh-listed Kingdom Holding company and was working with advisers, including Goldman Sachs, to find investments as large as $3 billion.

"Some people in business community will be doubtful, will say: 'What’s going on?'

"However, I assure them that everything is normal and we are functioning as we were before and we welcome them to come here to see what we’re doing in Saudi Arabia and life is back to normal."

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the 32-year-old son of the king, is behind the unprecedented crackdown on corruption among members of the government and royal family, as he consolidates his grip on power.

Some critics have labelled Prince Mohammed's campaign a shakedown and power grab, but authorities insist the purge targeted endemic corruption as the country prepares for a post-oil era.

Updated Date:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

CanSino Biologics to begin final phase of human trials for its COVID-19 vaccine in Saudi Arabia
science

CanSino Biologics to begin final phase of human trials for its COVID-19 vaccine in Saudi Arabia

This final leg of human vaccine trials will recruit 5,000 volunteers above age 18 in Riyadh, Dammam and Mecca.

Scaled-down Hajj begins with social distancing measures; pilgrims tested for COVID-19, given special attire
World

Scaled-down Hajj begins with social distancing measures; pilgrims tested for COVID-19, given special attire

The 1,000 pilgrims selected for Hajj this year were seen standing apart and moving in small groups of 20

Former Saudi intelligence official accuses Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of trying to kill him
World

Former Saudi intelligence official accuses Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of trying to kill him

Saad Aljabri has accused Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of using increasingly aggressive tactics to try to return him to Saudi Arabia, including offering him a job, threatening to have him extradited on corruption charges, and arresting two of his children