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Saudi Arabia: Bin Talal to sell shares of his company to sovereign fund

The prince will sell 625 million shares, approximately 16.87 percent stake of his Kingdom Holding Company
Talal was detained in 2017 for alleged corruption alongside 300 other princes and prominent businessmen (AFP)

Saudi Arabia's billionaire Prince Al Waleed bin Talal, who was targeted in a corruption crackdown in 2017, will sell millions of dollars worth of shares of his company to the kingdom's sovereign wealth fund. 

A statement on Sunday confirmed that Talal had sold 625 million shares or 16.87 percent of his Kingdom Holding Company, worth approximately $1.5bn, according to official Saudi records. 

Headquartered in Riyadh, Talal's Kingdom company holds a majority stake in The Savoy Hotel in London, and a significant stake in ride-sharing app Careem, according to a breakdown of his portfolio. 

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Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is chair of the sovereign wealth fund, known as the Public Investment Fund, central to his plan to end Riyadh's dependence on oil. 

The prince has not been able to publicly recover after the Saudi authorities detained him as part of a crackdown in 2017 for alleged corruption. 

Under the orders of Salman, Talal was detained alongside 300 other princes and businessmen and held in the Ritz Carlton in Riyadh. 

In January 2018, Al-Waleed was freed, looking gaunt but seemingly unharmed, after nearly three months in detention. 

He declared the ordeal a misunderstanding that had been cleared up as news swirled that he had reached an undisclosed financial settlement with authorities in return for his freedom. 

Talal recently had a back and forth with Tesla and Space X CEO Elon Musk over his bid to buy Twitter.

The Saudi prince was one of the few investors who spoke out against Musk's takeover and said it did not reflect Twitter's "intrinsic value... given its growth prospects". 

But in late May, Talal tracked back on his comment and agreed to contribute 35 million Twitter shares worth $1.9bn to retain a stake in the company post-acquisition.