Saudi billionaire moved from Ritz to maximum security prison after refusing to pay $6bn
Cii Radio| Ayesha Ismail| 16 January 2018| 28 Rabi ul Aakhir 1439
Billionaire Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has reportedly been transferred to a maximum-security prison after refusing to pay $6 billion as part of a government anti-corruption purge.
The prince was among 60 detainees who were being kept under arrest at the Ritz Carlton Hotel. However, these were moved by Saudi authorities to Al-Ha’ir Prison, according to sources quoted by Al-Araby Al-Jadeednews website. The jail, located south of Riyadh, is the kingdom’s highest-security prison.
Alwaleed is a nephew of Saudi King Salman and is worth more than $17 billion. He is ranked as the world’s 64th richest man, and was once dubbed the ‘Arabian Warren Buffett.’ The billionaire, who owns stakes in Twitter, Lyft and Citigroup, was arrested in November.
The relocation of detainees reportedly followed a failure to negotiate their release with the government, refusing to make large financial payments. Riyadh was planning to secure a reported $100 billion in settlements from the kingdom’s billionaires.
Last year, the Saudi authorities detained dozens of royals, top government officials, and businessmen in a national anti-corruption push, offering freedom to some of the detainees in exchange for paying up to 70 percent of their wealth. The arrests followed the launch of a new anti-corruption committee headed by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.
Ritz-Carlton to reopen after being used as prison
The luxury Riyadh hotel used as a prison during Saudi Arabia’s crackdown on corruption will reopen for business next month, according to a company employee and its website, suggesting authorities are close to settling the cases of many suspects.
Dozens of princes, senior officials and top businessmen were detained and confined in the opulent Ritz-Carlton Riyadh as the government launched the purge in early November. The hotel was closed to normal business.
The detainees were tortured at the luxurious establishment in Riyadh, sources told Middle East Eye in November.
The authorities also set up medical units at the hotel to treat officials who needed care after beatings.
Suspects were also held at the Courtyard, Diplomatic Quarter, across the street from the Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh.
Both hotels are owned by Marriott.
MEE contacted Marriott about the reported abuse taking place at the Riyadh properties in November, and the hotel chain acknowledged that the establishments “are not operating as traditional hotels for the time being.”
“We remain in close contact with the guests and groups holding existing reservations; working with them to assist with their reservations and minimise disruption to their travel and event plans,” Marriott said in a statement then.
Source – MEE|RT News