Time is running out for Saudi Arabia’s richest man.
It was more than two months that the Saudi government arrested Prince Alwaleed bin Talal as part of its campaign to reduce corruption. According to London based Arabic news site Al-Arabv Al-Jadeed, Alwaleed was more to a prison – removing him from his restricted quarters at the Riyadh Ritz Carlton Hotel in a sign that things were becoming serious.
But getting Alwaleed into Al Ha’ir is an ominous sign even though the prison is not a very notorious one.
There were about 200 fellow princes and top officials of the price who were also detained at the Riyadh Ritz for over two months. But now there are just a few people detained there. Payment and other types of capitulation have been paid to the new Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman by most of the former detainees to buy their freedom.
But freedom for Talal has been fixed at $6 billion by bin Salman along with control over some of his investment companies, but the prince is still holding out.
It was last summer that a move to alter the order of succession was mad by King Salman and bin Salman was announced to be the crown prince. This gave the price power to conduct the anti-corruption drive.
Ties with the U.S. and even Israel have bene strengthened and the military defenses against Iran were beefed up since then by him. He also attempted to shift remove the country from the clutches of the anti-Semitic and anti-American Islamic clerics later on. And the arrest off Alwaleed and 200 other princes was morphed with the economic reforms in November. It is believed that the arrested were some potential threat to his complete control over power.
There has been a very long period of silence by the influential friends about the arrest of Talal and this is one of the stunning aspects of his arrest. This week however, two former French presidents came out expressing some concern over the arrest of Alwaleed. But that has very little influence on the situation.
No public stink is being made by the supposed influential friends of Alwaleed has probably also not been raised dur to the lucrative Saudi Aramco IPO slated to be issued soon. In order to gain access, those friends want to please the Saudis.
This conjecture is also being driven by the moves off this week. And the chances of Prince Alwaleed to claim an actual trial or to get a better deal is getting lower every day. There is no fear of international reprisal for the Saudi government.
(Adapted from CNBC.com)