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Saudi Authorities Release MBC Founder from Ritz Carlton

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Local Editor

Saudi authorities have released founder of MBC network Waleed bin Ibrahim al-Ibrahim from the Ritz Carlton in Riyadh, the company CEO told employees late Friday evening.

Saudi Crown Prince MBS and founder of MBC network Waleed bin Ibrahim al-Ibrahim

In a memo seen by The Daily Star, regional TV network MBC CEO Sam Barnett said that Ibrahim had been released and was now with members of his family.

Ibrahim's release comes months after being detained as part of a widespread corruption probe in Saudi Arabia.

"I am delighted to convey the excellent news that Sheikh Waleed has just got back and is with members of his family in Riyadh," the memo from Barnett read. "This has been the best day for the last 83. We now hope for many better days to come."

The crackdown was launched by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman on Nov. 4 last year to cut wasteful and unlawful spending by some of the country's most powerful men.

Some 200 leading businessmen, princes and government officials were detained and many were released from the five star Ritz Carlton resort in Riyadh only after handing millions in assets over to the state. The corruption drive is estimated to have raised in the region of $100 billion dollars and the young crown prince has vowed to claw back all lost revenue.

Among those detained was Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a billionaire investor with stakes in companies around the world including Twitter and Citigroup.

MBC is the largest free-to-air TV network in the Arab world that attracts around 140 million viewers daily across the Middle East and beyond.

Reuters news agency reported Friday evening that several prominent businessmen were also released from the Ritz Carlton after reaching a financial settlement with Saudi authorities.

The other men included Fawaz Alhokair, a major shareholder in fashion retailer Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair Co; Khalid al-Tuwaijri, a former chief of the Royal Court; and Turki bin Nasser, a former head of the country's meteorology and environmental protection agency, Reuters reported, quoting an official source.

It added that the source did not disclose the terms of the settlement and Reuters said the men could not be reached for comment.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team