- Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who was recently released from detention at Riyadh’s Ritz-Carlton, detailed his treatment to Bloomberg.
- Alwaleed said that he wasn’t abused or tortured, and that such rumours are lies.
- He said he spent the 83 days in leisure, watching sports, reading the news, and praying.
Saudi Arabia’s anti-corruption crackdown in November 2017 ensnared one of the richest people in the world – Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.
Alwaleed, whose networth has been reported to be over $US17 billion, made mostly from real estate and public market investing, was detained for 83 days in Riyadh’s Ritz-Carlton and eventually released in mid-March.
He recently sat down with Bloomberg’s Erik Schatzker to discuss the deal he struck for his release, which the Wall Street Journal reported was a hefty sum of $US6 billion. In the interview, Alwaleed couldn’t or was unwilling to go into further details.
While maintaining to Bloomberg that he wasn’t “arrested” and that he was never charged with any crime, he did shed some light on the treatment he received at the Ritz-Carlton, where rumours of torture and mistreatment of other wealthy detainees have abounded.
“I need to clear my name, No. 1, and to clear up a lot of the lies,” Alwaleed told Bloomberg. “For example, when they said that I was tortured, I was sent to a prison, you know, during my 83 days in the Ritz-Carlton hotel. All these were lies. I stayed there the whole time. I was never tortured.”
He said he was detained in a 4,575-square-foot royal suite, and that he spent a lot of his time in leisure.
“A lot of sports, a lot of walking, a lot of meditation, a lot of watching news, a lot of praying,” Alwaleed said, adding that he woke up everyday around 6 or 7 a.m. and that he prayed five times a day.
He also told Bloomberg that no one else was tortured or mistreated, except maybe for those who “tried to run away or do something crazy. Maybe he was put down and controlled. Maybe. But for sure there was nothing you could call systematic torturing.”
Alwaleed told Bloomberg he wasn’t allowed to see or talk to other detainees, but that he was allowed to speak on the phone with his immediate family, as well as the CEO of his company. He admitted the calls were probably being monitored.
Saudi Arabia’s powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Alwaleed’s cousin, is reported to be behind the arrests and broader corruption crackdown. MbS, as he is known, is in Washington DC on Tuesday meeting with President Donald Trump.
Watch Alwaleed’s interview with Bloomberg below: