Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, long a favorite in tech circles, is reportedly still under armed guard

Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, long a favorite in tech circles, is reportedly still under armed guard
From TechCrunch - March 13, 2018

Shares ofSaudi Arabias Kingdom Holding, an international investment company controlled by Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, soared in January when he was freed after two months of being held captive at a Ritz Carlton inRiyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Turns out investors may have celebrated too soon.

As people following the story may recall, Prince Alwaleedwas arrested in early November with hundreds of other businessmen and at least ten other princes. The roundup was described as a sweeping corruption investigation but widely seen as an effort to consolidate power byCrown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a son and the top adviser of King Salman, who succeeded his half brother and became king of Saudi Arabia in January 2015. Indeed, the crown prince had announced thecreation of a new anti-corruption committeewhich he headed upjust hours before the arrests were ordered.

New reports suggest that though most of those who were arrested have now been released, they are not in control of the holdings they once were, including Prince Alwaleed. Adetailed weekend report by the New York Times, for example, states that members of the royal family, and relatives, advisers and associates of the detainees say those who were kidnapped were coerced and physically abused in some cases, and that billions of dollars in private wealth were transferred to Crown Princes Mohammeds control.

Two associates of Prince Alwaleed also told the Times that he continues to live under armed guard and that his time at the Ritz is something he wants to forget.

That wont be easy, according to a separate report in the WSJ yesterday that said theSaudi government now has final say over decisions at Kingdom Holding and that, further,the princes personal investment portfolio is also under government control.

Prince Alwaleedwho longmaintained a high profile, even pledging in 2015 to give away $32 billion as part of investor Warren Buffetts famous Giving Pledgehas also reportedly agreed to step back from his informal role as a broker for foreign businesses and governments looking to invest in Saudi Arabia, says the WSJ.

Before being ushered out of view in November, the prince was considered to be one of the worlds richest men, with Kingdom Holding owning or having owned meaningful positions in satellite TV networks, as well as in News Corp. (a stake it mostly sold), Citigroup (shares of which it has owned since1991), and a growing number of tech companies.


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