In the November crackdown, the Saudi government arrested and detained several hundred businessmen, senior officials and Saudi royals like Alwaleed, many within the Ritz-Carlton hotel. Multiple reports, citing anonymous sources, have suggested that detainees handed over assets in order to buy their freedom.
Alwaleed, the billionaire owner of international investment company Kingdom Holding, told Reuters that he had accepted the interview request with the news agency because he was upset by media reports that had suggested he’d been sent to prison and tortured. “All lies. It’s very unfortunate,” he said.
The crackdown was overseen by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who is leading a reform drive in the country aimed at diversifying the economy away from oil and reforming Saudi society.