In a part of the world overflowing with billionaires and princes, Prince Al-Waleed is the richest billionaire Prince of them all. He's not only the richest person in Saudi Arabia, he's the richest person in the entire Middle East. Even more impressively, with a net worth of $20 billion, Prince Al-Waleed is currently one of the 20 richest people on the planet. He's a full $15 billion richer than his Uncle, the King of Saudi Arabia. When Alwaleed needs to lay his head at night, the Prince can do so at one of dozens of palaces and mansions around the world. His main residence is a 420 room, 370,000 square foot palace on the outskirts of Riyadh. Al-Waleed's Riyadh palace has its own zoo, complete with giraffes, zebras, and gazelles. He also owns a luxurious residence in the top three floors of Kingdom Tower. His real estate properties in Saudi Arabia are reportedly worth more than $4.5 billion on their own. His super yacht, the Kingdom 5KR, is the 54th largest private yacht in the world. He reportedly has a new yacht being built with a price tag topping $500 million. Have we properly established that Prince Al-Waleed is wealthy yet? Hopefully. So with all that in mind, you might be surprised to know that Prince Alwaleed was just arrested by police in Saudi Arabia.
The reasons behind his arrest are somewhat vague at the moment. What we know is that he is being held on anti-corruption charges with 17 other princes and government officials. They were reportedly arrested while attending an investment conference. And if you're picturing the prince behind bars in a decrepit Saudi jail cell, think again. Alwaleed and his fellow accused, are actually being held prisoner at the Ritz Carlton in Riyadh.
The arrest order came directly from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the 32-year-old heir to the throne. The Crown Prince has made anti-corruption one of his primary goals to reform Saudi Arabia. A spokesman for Saudi Arabia's information ministry released the following statement related to the arrests:
"The accounts and balances of those detained will be revealed and frozen. Any asset or property related to these cases of corruption will be registered as state property."
That should send some shivers down the spine of Prince Alwaleed.
Another state official described the arrests as an "historic and black night against the corrupt."
On news of Alwaleed's arrest, shares in his publicly traded company Kingdom Holding dropped 10%. With the drop, roughly $750 million was shaved from his net worth.
Alwaleed owns 95% of investment company Kingdom Holdings. Over the years his company has been a major investor in many companies including Lyft, Newscorp, Citigroup, Disney and Twitter. His company also owns Paris' Four Seasons Hotel George V as well as part of Plaza Hotel in New York City.