Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who has been under detention in the country in an anti-corruption crackdown, is negotiating a possible settlement with authorities, according to Reuters.
The billionaire prince, the chairman of international investment firm Kingdom Holding, has been in settlement talks but so far has not agreed on terms, the report said, citing a Saudi source.
“He offered a certain figure but it doesn’t meet the figure required from him, and until today the attorney-general hasn’t approved it,” an unidentified senior Saudi official was quoted as saying.
Another source familiar with Prince Alwaleed’s case told Reuters on Saturday that the prince had offered to make a “donation” to the Saudi government, which would avoid any admission of wrongdoing, and to do so from assets of his own choosing.
The government refused those terms, according to the source.
Prince Alwaleed, whose net worth has been estimated by Forbes magazine at US$17 billion, has been under detention since early November, along with dozens of other members of Saudi Arabia’s political and business elite, in a crackdown launched by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The princes and businessmen are being held in Riyadh’s opulent Ritz Carlton hotel as authorities seek to reach settlements with them.
Saudi officials say they aim to claw back some US$100 billion of funds that rightfully belong to the state. Mohammed bin Salman has indicated he wants to close existing cases quickly and expects most suspects to cut a deal.
The allegations against Prince Alwaleed include money laundering, bribery and extorting officials, a Saudi official told Reuters soon after his detention. Neither he nor his company has commented publicly on the charges.
In related news, construction giant Saudi Binladin Group said on Saturday 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.
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