The Star Early Edition
Prince’s detention could hit his deals
THE DETENTION of Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, known for his big bets on Citigroup and other top Western companies, could have an impact on billions of dollars of investments around the world.
For many foreigners, Prince Alwaleed – whose net worth has been estimated by Forbes magazine at $17 billion (R241bn) – is the face of Saudi business. A 2013 Forbes magazine profile described his 420room Riyadh palace, a private Boeing 747 and 48ha resort on the edge of the Saudi capital.
He is also known for his outspoken views – making headlines in 2015 when he called Donald Trump a “disgrace” on Twitter.
Prince Alwaleed’s investments, current and future, may now be in doubt after he was detained by a new Saudi anti-corruption body.
Aside from a stake in Citigroup, Prince Alwaleed, 62, owns significant stakes in Twitter, ride-hailing firm Lyft and Time Warner.
His investment firm Kingdom Holding – whose share price plunged 10 percent yesterday after his detention – recently bought about half of a 31.1 percent stake in Saudi lender Banque Saudi Fransi.
Prince Alwaleed’s father was the kingdom’s finance minister during the 1960s. Prince Alwaleed formed Kingdom Holding in 1979, initially pouring money into real estate in Riyadh. In the 1990s he ventured into Wall Street, investing heavily in Citigroup. He increased his stake in Citigroup at the height of the global financial crisis a decade ago and held on to the stake.
“He’s always been a public face of Saudi Arabia, but never a key decision-maker,” a Gulf businessman said.