Billionaire Prince Alwaleed arrested in Saudi anti-corruption drive

The 32-year-old trying to revamp Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has been arrested as part of an anti-corruption sweep inside kingdom.

The billionaire businessman was among at least 17 Saudi princes in addition to top officials detained on Saturday, according to a list obtained by sy88pgw in addition to cited by a senior royal court official.

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Reports of his arrest saw $750 million wiped off Alwaleed’s fortune Sunday.

Shares inside prince’s Kingdom Holding company fell as much as 9.9%, before closing down 7.6% in Riyadh.

Alwaleed owns 95% of Kingdom Holding, which holds stakes in global companies, including Citigroup, (C) Twitter, (TWTR, Tech30) Apple (AAPL, Tech30) in addition to fresh York’s Plaza Hotel.

The remaining 5% is usually listed on the Saudi Stock Exchange. Kingdom Holding was worth about $10 billion before Sunday’s share cost drop.

Kingdom Holding released a statement after the market closed saying in which while the idea was aware of media reports concerning Alwaleed, the firm would certainly continue its normal operations.

Related: Saudi Arabia says the idea carries a fresh investor: Richard Branson

Alwaleed is usually a grandson of the Saudi Arabia’s founder, King Abdul Aziz Al Saud. The prince does not hold a government position, nevertheless his investment portfolio has made him an influential voice inside his home country.

His personal fortune is usually estimated at over $17 billion, according to Forbes.

Alwaleed got his start in business in 1979, doing investments in Saudi real estate in addition to construction. nevertheless he quickly turned to banking.

The prince captured Wall Street’s attention by becoming one of Citi’s major shareholders in 1991, a bet in which would certainly pay off handsomely. Later, when the global financial crisis caused the bank’s shares to plummet, the prince increased his stake in a show of confidence.

Citi survived.

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

In 2015, he urged Donald Trump to drop out of the presidential race, calling him a “disgrace” over threats to ban Muslims through entering the U.S.

In response, Trump called the prince “dopey.”

In Saudi Arabia, Alwaleed advocated for giving women more freedoms, including calling for an end to the country’s ban on driving.

The ban was lifted in September following a royal decree.

Alwaleed wasn’t the only prominent Saudi to be caught inside anti-corruption drive.

Three ministers have been removed through their positions, in addition to tens of former ministers were detained as part of the campaign initiated by King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud.

The arrest orders came through a committee, headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in which has the authority to investigate, arrest, issue travel bans in addition to freeze the assets of those the idea finds corrupt.

The crown prince is usually pushing a ambitious reform plan, Vision 2030, in which is usually aimed at reducing the country’s dependence on oil over the next decade.

Related: Saudi Arabia wants to build a $500 billion mega-city spanning 3 countries

Saudi Arabia’s Attorney General, Sheikh Saud Al Mojeb, said the committee had begun several investigations in a bid to combat corruption.

“Everyone is usually presumed innocent until proven guilty, in addition to everyone’s legal rights will be preserved,” he said in a statement.

King Salman ordered the anti-corruption purge as part of an “active reform agenda aimed at tackling a persistent problem in which has hindered development efforts inside Kingdom in recent decades,” the Saudi Ministry of Communications said in a statement.

–Becky Anderson in addition to Sarah El Sirgany contributed to This specific report.

sy88pgw (Dubai) First published November 5, 2017: 8:28 AM ET

Billionaire Prince Alwaleed arrested in Saudi anti-corruption drive

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