Shares of Saudi Prince's Firm Surge After His Release

Pic Reuters

A prominent Saudi billionaire, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, has been released from a two-month detention after paying a settlement in an anti-corruption bust.

But the official gave no details, beyond saying Prince Alwaleed would continue to head Kingdom Holding.

"He has he arrived home", accoridng to an unnamed family member cited by Reuters. The crackdown has officially been characterized as part of a campaign to reform the government but it was also seen by some as a power play by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Neither the prince nor the Saudi information ministry was available for comment. They have been held in Riyadh's luxury Ritz-Carlton hotel since their arrest.

By midweek, 95 people were still being held, though several more were released over the weekend. Others have been transferred to prison to face trial, the Wall Street Journal reported.

"The attorney general this morning approved the settlement with Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal", a government source said. Investments within Saudi Arabia include a 16.2 percent stake in lender Banque Saudi Fransi 1050.SE.

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Saudi authorities claim it will help finance a 50 billion royal ($13.3 billion) package to help citizens cope with the rising cost of living, although there still appears to be little transparency in upper echelons of government. "If that is all that it was, I wonder if anything will change". They said he had returned to his palatial home in Riyadh's al-Fakhariya neighborhood.

"There's a high possibility that this marks the end of almost the first stage and that more arrests will happen later this year", said CEO and founder of risk consulting firm Gulf State Analytics Giorgio Cafiero.

During a previous interview, a Saudi official said charges against the billionaire prince included money laundering, bribery and extorting of officials.

"Settlements don't happen unless the accused acknowledges violations and documents that in writing and pledges that he won't repeat them", the official said.

Prince Alwaleed is the latest in a batch of high-profile detainees to be freed from the hotel as the anti-corruption campaign begins to wind down. Al-Ibrahim will return to running the media company as usual, one of the people said, and Reuters reported that his ownership hasn't changed, citing an official. He was under detention under anti corruption purge along with over 200 princes and high ranking officials facing corruption charges since early November past year.

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