Dubai, January 14: Saudi Arabia’s billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, detained for last two months in an anti-corruption crackdown, has reportedly started negotiating a possible settlement with authorities but so far has not agreed on terms, news agency Reuters reported.
Prince Talal, whose net worth has been estimated by Forbes magazine at $17 billion, is chairman and owner of international investment firm Kingdom Holding, who is also known as world’s most prominent businessmen.
“He offered some amount but it doesn’t meet the figure required of him, and until today the attorney-general hasn’t approved it,” the official said to Reuters on condition of anonymity.
A second familiar source with Prince Alwaleed’s case told Reuters that he had offered the Saudi Arab government to make a “donation”, which would avoid any admission of wrongdoing, and to do so from assets of his own choosing. But the government on the other side refused those terms, the source further added.
Since last two months, Prince Alwaleed has been held with dozens of other members of Saudi Arabia’s political and business elite detained in the crackdown, in Riyadh’s high-end Ritz Carlton hotel as authorities seek to reach settlements with the detainees.
The Saudi government said that they aim to claw back some $100 billion of funds that rightfully belong to the state. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who also launched a crackdown, has indicated that he wants to close existing cases quickly and expects most suspects to cut a deal.
According to a report, the allegations against Prince Alwaleed include bribery, money laundering and extorting officials. Neither Prince Talal nor his company has commented publicly on the charges.
Kingdon Holding, which has always maintained that it is continuing to operate normally, did not respond to requests for comments when asked about any settlement talks.
On Saturday, construction giant Saudi Bin Laden Group said that some of its shareholders might transfer part of their holdings to the state in a settlement with authorities. Chairman Bakr Bin Laden and several family members were detained in the crackdown.