Billionaire Saudi Prince Freed From Weeks-Long Ritz Detention

Alwaleed to go to trial

Prince Alwaleed said he was continuing to maintain his innocence of any corruption in talks with authorities and that he expects to keep full control of his global investment firm Kingdom Holding Co without being required to give up assets to the government.

"The attorney general has approved this morning a settlement that was reached with Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, and the prince returned home at 11:00am", the official told Reuters without providing details.

In an exclusive interview with Reuters, Prince Alwaleed was speaking from his luxurious suite in Riyadh's Ritz-Carlton hotel, now transformed into a heavenly prison to hold tycoons and royals.

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It appears, however, that several more were released over the weekend, in addition to Prince Alwaleed, who was the most well-known and prominent figure caught up in the sweep.

Alwaleed is the founder of investment company Kingdom Holding, based in the Saudi capital of Riyadh. He has also invested in the AccorHotels chain and Canary Wharf, the London business development. But he quickly turned to banking.

Close attention is being paid to what has become of his vast fortune.

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Alwaleed has courted controversy on occasion, suing Forbes for libel in 2013 after it said he was worth only $20 billion.

Groups including the Stop the War coalition, the Campaign Against Arms Trade, and the Arab Human Rights Organisation, published an open letter on Friday accusing Prince Salman of being responsible for the war and humanitarian crisis in Yemen. In September, King Salman ordered that the restriction should be lifted next year.

Among them is former finance minister and minister of state, Ibrahim al-Assaf, who led Saudi Arabia's delegation to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in the past week, and former National Guard chief Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, recently photographed attending a horse race with Prince Mohammed.

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Saudi Arabia is using cash recovered from officials and princes arrested in the crackdown to ease the pain of austerity. He is seen as a power behind the King and a supporter of reforms. He is also pushing for diversifying Saudi's economy away from oil and to relax its strict social conventions.

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