Saudi billionaire seeks to calm investors with more transparency

Prince Alwaleed says he may reveal more details about the terms of his release from a corruption crackdown last year
Saudi billionaire seeks to calm investors with more transparency
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud.
By Bloomberg
Tue 19 Mar 2019 04:33 PM

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud, the Saudi billionaire, has promised more transparency on his settlement with the government over alleged corruption in the hope the move would calm investors.

The prince, who was detained in November 2017 in what the government called a corruption crackdown, said he may reveal more details on the terms of his release in the “coming weeks or months” so shareholders in Kingdom Holding Co, his publicly-traded investment firm, “will be more comfortable."

“Maybe the market still wants more transparency," Alwaleed said in an interview with his television channel, Rotana Khalijia. "I admit there’s some confusion for them now.”

About half of Alwaleed’s wealth is tied to shares in Kingdom Holding, in which he owns a 95 percent stake.

Alwaleed was the most prominent among hundreds of Saudi businessmen, government officials and princes who were swept up in the controversial corruption crackdown and detained at Riyadh’s Ritz-Carlton hotel.

Kingdom Holding shares slumped about 20 percent in the days after his detention and are yet to fully recover.

The billionaire was released January 2018 after reaching what he called a confidential “confirmed understanding” with the government. Various media reports have since suggested the settlement could have involved cash payments or property transfers worth billions of dollars.

The prince has refused to reveal details of the agreement, other than to confirm he still had control of his assets, including Kingdom Holding and his media company Rotana.

Most of the detainees were released after reaching settlements and the government said it has recovered more than $100 billion for state coffers.

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