After weeks of silence surrounding the whereablouts of one of the world's richest men arrested in Saudi Arabia, reports have emerged of the price of his freedom.
Saudi authorities are allegedly demanding at least $6 billion from Saudi Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, who was arrested in November along with dozens of other princes, senior officials and businessmen as part of a corruption crackdown under the leadership of Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman (MBS).
It was earlier reported Saudi authorities had started striking agreements with some of those detained in the crackdown, asking them to hand over assets and money in exchange for their freedom. It appears the price of bin Talal's release is among the highest figures demanded so far.
Over the years, bin Talal has been one prominent member of the Saudi royal family who has worked diligently toward building — mostly financial — ties with the West, especially the United States.
Giving away $6 billion to get out of detention would put bin Talal's business empire at risk. He has reportedly denied all accusations of corruption leveled against him and also refused a settlement with the crown prince.
Bin Talal has an estimated net worth of $18.7 billion. He runs investment firm Kingdom Holding and owns large stakes in tech companies like Apple, Citigroup, and in others such as the Four Seasons, Fairmont, Movenpick hotel chains as well as Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.
He also has the second-largest stake in Twitter Inc.
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