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Saudi billionaire prince freed in corruption investigation

Saudi billionaire prince freed in corruption investigation
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By Euronews
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Release suggests corruption probe is winding down after it sent shockwaves through kingdom's business and political establishment

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Saudi Arabian billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal was released from detention on Saturday, family sources said, more than two months after he was taken into custody in the kingdom's sweeping crackdown on corruption.

His release came hours after he told Reuters in an interview at Riyadh's opulent Ritz-Carlton hotel that he expected to be cleared of any wrongdoing and be freed within days.

A senior Saudi official said Prince Alwaleed's release had come about after a financial settlement was reached with the attorney general.

"The attorney general has approved this morning the settlement that was reached with Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, and the prince returned home at 1100 A.M.," the official said, without giving details on the terms.

But the decision to free him, and the release of several other well-known tycoons on Friday, suggested the main part of the corruption probe was winding down after it sent shockwaves through Saudi Arabia's business and political establishment.

Saudi authorities have said they expect to raise some $100 billion for the government through such settlements - a huge windfall for the state, which has seen its finances squeezed by low oil prices.

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