Saudi billionaire barred from leaving Kingdom
Saudi regime has reportedly barred Prince Alwaleed bin Talal from leaving the kingdom after the billionaire was released after nearly three months in detention as part of a so-called anti-corruption purge.

Sources told Qatari newspaper al-Sharq on Monday that bin Talal, who had hoped to spend time in the south of France and also travel overseas to meet with his aides and advisers, has not received the necessary license to leave the kingdom, which has left him in “a state of gloom.”

The travel ban has led the prince into deactivating his Twitter account, where he has regularly commented on events in the past, according to the report.

Bin Talal, the chairman of Kingdom Holding Company, is one of the world’s richest men with assets valued by Bloomberg at $19 billion. His Riyadh-based investment holding company, owns stakes in hotels like The Four Seasons, Fairmont and Raffles, as well as companies such as News Corp., Disney, 21st Century Fox, Citigroup, GM, Twitter, and Apple.

Dozens of princes, ministers and former ministers were detained in late December 2017 on the order of Saudi Arabia’s so-called Anti-Corruption Committee headed by the Crown Prince, in a crackdown, which is widely believed to be aimed at consolidating his power.

The detained individuals faced allegations of money laundering, bribery, extorting officials and misappropriation of public funds for personal benefits.

Reports said the high-profile detainees, including bin Talal, were even subjected to torture in detention. The billionaire was said to have been beaten and hung upside down.

Many of the detainees have been released so far after forking out exorbitant amounts reaching as high as one billion dollars.

Bin Talal was freed in late January after he reached a financial settlement with the attorney general, said a Saudi official back then, without elaborating on the amount he had paid to secure his release.

Earlier this month, Forbes magazine said it was excluding all Saudi Arabian tycoons, including bin Talal, from its annual list of the world’s richest people after the Saudi purge.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that investment decisions at Kingdom Holdings need to be approved by the Riyadh government, which is also controlling bin Talal’s personal investment portfolio.

Meanwhile, fresh revelations show that prisoners caught up in the campaign were mistreated.

The New York Times reported Monday the body of Major General Ali al-Qahtani, an officer in the Saudi National Guard, who died while still in custody, showed signs of abuse including a neck that appeared twisted and a badly swollen body.

One person who saw the corpse of the officer also said that his body was badly bruised and distended, while his skin showed other signs of physical abuse.

A doctor and two other people briefed on the condition of the body said that it had burn marks that appeared to be from electric shocks, the report said.

General Qahtani was a top aide to Prince Turki bin Abdullah, a son of the late King Abdullah and a former governor of Riyadh.

The report also said that more than a dozen of the prisoners were abused while they were being held, and that many of the assets of the 381 princes, ministers and tycoons have yet to be seized.

The majority of the 381 people held have been released, but many now wear ankle bracelets that track their movements and cannot gain access to their bank accounts, according to the Times.

The former detainees were quoted by the newspaper as saying that many of the released are being forced to wear tracking devices on their ankles.

Their wives and children have reportedly been prevented from travelling.


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