'Grayer and thinner' Prince Alwaleed bin Talal expects to be released 'within days, assets intact'

MENA

Published: 2018-01-27 12:11

Last Updated: 2018-01-27 14:56


Prince Alwaleed spoke exclusively to Reuters in a 30-minute interview on Saturday. (Facebook)
Prince Alwaleed spoke exclusively to Reuters in a 30-minute interview on Saturday. (Facebook)
Roya News Source

Saudi Arabian billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal exclusively told Reuters on Saturday that he expects to be released from the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh within the next few days.

Prince Alwaleed said that he expects to be “cleared of any wrongdoing” and to “keep full control of his global investment firm Kingdom Holding Co 4280.SE without being required to give up assets to the government.”

Two months ago, the hotel was famously transformed into a luxurious hotel to detain the prominent businessman, along with other princes and tycoons, as part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s crackdown on corruption.

This is the first time the business tycoon has spoken publicly since his detention.

Prince Alwaleed told Reuters that his confinement was a “misunderstanding,” explaining that “There are no charges. There are just some discussions between me and the government.”

“I believe we are on the verge of finishing everything within days.”

The 62-year-old prince has grown a beard while in detention, and appeared “grayer and thinner” than he did in his last public appearance in late October, according to Reuters.

“I have nothing to hide at all. I‘m so comfortable, I‘m so relaxed. I shave here, like at home. My barber comes here. I‘m like at home, frankly speaking,” he said.

“I told the government I’d stay as much as they want, because I want the truth to come out on all my dealings and on all things that are around me.”

During the 30-minute interview, Prince Alwaleed gave Reuters a tour of his suite in order to disprove the “particularly upsetting” rumors that he had been sent to prison and tortured.

”It’s very unfortunate. I was planning to do an interview when I got out, which I think will be imminently.

“But I decided to accelerate the process and accept this interview today because these various rumors took place. They’re unacceptable completely. They are just a bunch of lies.”

Prince Alwaleed, whose net worth has been estimated by Forbes magazine at $17 billion, said that he plans to stay in Saudi Arabia following his release.

“I will not leave Saudi Arabia, for sure. This is my country. I have my family, my children, my grandchildren here. I have my assets here. My allegiance is not on the table.”