Saudi prince released from imprisonment in hotel

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Billionaire Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal was released on Saturday from the luxury hotel where he has been held since November, according to three of his associates, marking the end of a chapter in a wide-reaching anti-corruption probe that has been shrouded in secrecy and intrigue.

The Saudi Attorney General Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb was reported as saying that authorities had agreed to drop charges against about 90 detainees, who were released.

According to Crown Prince Salman in an interview with state news agency SPA, the reform measures are aimed at "improving living standards for Saudi citizens", which was now "a government policy".

"Settlements don't happen unless the accused acknowledges violations and documents that in writing and pledges that he won't repeat them", the official said.

Another high-profile detainee, former National Guard chief Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, was released recently following his "settlement" with authorities which reportedly exceeded $1 billion.

Neither the prince nor the Saudi information ministry was available for comment.

Kingdom Holding - in which he has a 95 percent stake - owns The Savoy in London, the Fairmont Plaza and the famed George V hotel in Paris. "There are just some discussions between me and the government", the 62-year-old said in a televised interview.

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Shares in Riyadh-listed global investment company Kingdom Holding soared at the opening on Sunday after the company's owner, Prince, was released after being detained for over two months in a corruption probe. With the suspects' names and evidence against them never officially announced, the detentions had raised concerns about transparency among foreign investors - vital to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's plan to diversify the economy away from oil.

Prince Alwaleed was freed on Saturday after reaching a settlement with the Saudi authorities. The Prince however said, "There are no charges".

"I have nothing to hide at all. I'm so comfortable, I'm like at home, frankly speaking". My barber comes here. They said he had returned to his palatial home in Riyadh's al-Fakhariya neighborhood.

He granted the 30-minute interview, including a tour of his suite, partly to disprove rumours of mistreatment and of being moved from the hotel to a prison.

They had their smartphones taken away, but could communicate with family or business executives during detention from phones in their rooms.

His refrigerator was stocked with vegetarian meals as requested, and he had tennis shoes for exercise, Reuters reported. A television played business news programmes, and a mug with an image of his own face on it was perched on the desk.