Prince Alwaleed offers support to Saudi crown prince’s reform agenda

Saudi Arabian billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has pledged his support to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his sweeping Vision 2030 reform plan.

Prince Alwaleed said in a tweet on Thursday: “I was honoured to meet with my brother HRH the Crown Prince and to discuss economic matters and the private sector’s future & role in #Vision2030 success. I shall be one of the biggest supporters of the Vision through @Kingdom_KHC & all its affiliates.”

He also posted a photograph of the two men smiling warmly and embracing in front of a desk.

It was the first publicly disclosed meeting between the royal cousins since Prince Alwaleed was released in January after being detained the previous November in Riyadh’s Ritz Carlton hotel for three months under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s anti-corruption campaign.

Prince Alwaleed was the most high-profile figure to be detained, along with dozens of royals, senior officials and businessmen. Most were released after reaching financial settlements with the authorities. The kingdom’s attorney general Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb said a total of $106.7bn was raised in the crackdown.

The financial details of the deal cut by Prince Alwaleed to secure his release are not known. Prior to his arrest Forbes had estimated his net worth at $17.4bn.

Most of that figure was down to his 95 percent stake in Kingdom Holding, over which he has thought to have retained control following his release.

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Crown Prince Mohammed’s any-corruption drive was part of the sweeping Vision 2030 plan to move the kingdom away from its reliance on oil revenues and liberalise the country’s economic and social landscape.