Billionaire Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who was among 60 detainees being kept under arrest at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, has reportedly been transferred to a maximum-security prison after refusing to pay $6 billion as part of a government anti-corruption purge.
The detainees were moved by Saudi authorities to Al-Ha’ir Prison. The jail, located south of Riyadh, is the kingdom’s highest-security prison. The relocation of detainees reportedly followed a failure to negotiate their release with the government, refusing to make large financial payments. Riyadh was planning to secure a reported $100 billion in settlements from the kingdom’s billionaires.
Alwaleed is a nephew of Saudi King Salman, and is worth more than $17 billion. He is ranked as the world’s 64th richest man, and was once dubbed the "Arabian Warren Buffett." The billionaire, who owns stakes in Twitter, Lyft and Citigroup, was arrested in November.
Last year, the Saudi authorities detained dozens of royals, top government officials, and businessmen in a national anti-corruption push, offering freedom to some of the detainees in exchange for paying up to 70 percent of their wealth. The arrests followed the launch of a new anti-corruption committee headed by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.