The Star Early Edition

Prince’s de­ten­tion could hit his deals

- Saeed Azhar and Tom Arnold Dubai

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.

Out­spo­ken

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.

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