Who is Alwaled bin Talal: All is not well in Saudi Arabia. The oil-rich country has been witnessing unprecedented series of arrests of dozens of the country’s most powerful princes, military officers, influential businessmen and government ministers. One of the kingdom’s most influential businessmen Alwaleed bin Talal was arrested, according to reports. According to reports, those detained were being held at the Ritz Carlton in Riyadh, which only days earlier hosted a major investment conference that the crown prince attended with global business titans. A Saudi official said that other five-star hotels across the capital were also being used to hold some of those arrested.
Here is all you want to know about Alwaled bin Talal
Billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is one of the world’s richest men with extensive holdings in Western companies.
He is also the two of the late King Abdullah’s sons.
The surprise arrests were immediately hailed by pro-government media outlets as the clearest sign yet that Prince Mohammed is keeping his promise to reform the country, wean its economy from its dependence on oil and liberalize some aspects of the ultraconservative society.
It is not clear what Prince Alwaleed or the others were being investigated for.
Prince Alwaleed’s many investments include Twitter, Apple, Citigroup, and the Four Seasons hotel chain. He is also an investor in ride-sharing services Lyft and Careem. He was once a significant shareholder in Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, but sold much of those shares in 2015.
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The prince, pictured sometimes on his 85-meter (278-foot) super-yacht in the Mediterranean, is among the most outspoken Saudi royals and a longtime advocate of women’s rights. He is also majority owner of the popular Rotana Group of Arabic channels.
After word of his arrest, his company’s stock dropped 7.6 percent in trading Sunday on the Saudi stock exchange.
The Saudi government says the arrests are part of a wider effort to increase transparency, accountability and good governance _ key reforms needed to attract greater international investments and appease a Saudi public that has for decades complained of rampant government corruption and misuse of public funds by top officials. Surprise moves reshaping the kingdom, however, are likely to worry investors.
The kingdom’s top council of clerics issued a public statement overnight saying it is an Islamic duty to fight corruption _ essentially giving religious backing to the high-level arrests.
It’s unclear if the U.S. had any advance word of the arrests. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and White House adviser Jared Kushner and others made an unannounced trip recently to Riyadh. Earlier on Saturday, Trump said he spoke to King Salman, though the White House readout of that call did not include any reference to the impending arrests.