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Shares in Saudi Prince al-Waleed bin Talal's business plummet following arrest

95 percent of Kingdom Holding is owned by Saudi businessman Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal. [Getty]

Date of publication: 5 November, 2017

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Shares in Kingdom Holding, owned by influential businessman Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, dived ten percent on Sunday as news filtered through of the billionaire's arrest in Saudi Arabia.
Shares in Kingdom Holding, 95 percent of which is owned by influential Saudi businessman Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, dived 9.9 percent as the Saudi stock exchange opened on Sunday after reports of his arrest.

Saudi Arabia reportedly arrested 11 princes, including Prince al-Waleed, and dozens of current and former ministers late on Saturday in a sweeping crackdown as the kingdom's powerful young Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman consolidates power.

The crackdown was reported immediately after a new anti-corruption commission, headed by bin Salman, was established by royal decree late on Saturday. 

The corruption probe followed a major cabinet reshuffle in which Head of the Saudi National Guard Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, once a leading contender to the throne.

Also purged were the navy chief and the economy minister were replaced in a series of high-profile sackings that sent shock waves through the oil-rich Gulf country.

The Saudi Tadawul All-Shares Index (TASI) also dropped 1.6 percent only a minute after the start of trading on the Arab world's largest stock market following the arrests of leading royals and businessmen.

The Kingdom Holding share price did not slide further because, under the rules of the Saudi exchange, stocks are only allowed to fall a maximum of 10 percent in a single trading session. 

Global impact

Analysts say the arrest of Prince al-Waleed bin Talal trigger repercusions on companies he has invested billions of dollars in around the world.

Prince al-Waleed formed Kingdom Holding in 1979 and initially poured money into real estate in Riyadh before venturing into Wall Street, investing heavily in Citigroup.

Kingdom Holding is one of Saudi Arabia's most important investors with shares in the Euro Disney theme park, US tech giant Apple and Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, among others.

It also has key stakes in banks at home and abroad, as well as a number of investment, media and agricultural companies.

Aside from a stake in Citigroup, Prince al-Waleed, 62, owns significant stakes in Twitter, ride-hailing firm Lyft and Time Warner.

"There will be questions on what this all means", said a senior executive at a European financial institution.

"People will be looking at any kind of international holdings of the people who have been arrested, to see what will be the impact," he added, according to Reuters.

Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal made headlines in 2015 when he called Donald Trump a "disgrace" on Twitter during the US election campaign.

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