Billionaire al-Amoudi detained by Saudi authorities since 2017 set free

Mohammed al-Amoudi
Mohammed al-Amoudi
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Saudi Arabian billionaire Mohammed al-Amoudi has been released by Saudi authorities more than a year after the tycoon was detained under the kingdom’s controversial anti-corruption campaign, Ethiopian state television has said.

Saudi TV cited Arega Yirdaw, the chief executive of al-Amoudi’s MIDROC Technology Group, as its source.

Al-Amoudi was detained in Riyadh’s Ritz-Carlton hotel in November 2017 along with dozens of princes, officials and businessmen after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) launched his so-called “anti-corruption purge”.

Allegations against those detained included money laundering, bribery, and extorting officials.

The crackdown was in response to “exploitation by some of the weak souls who have put their own interests above the public interest, in order to illicitly accrue money,” a royal decree at the time said.

Most were freed after reaching settlement deals with the government, including Saudi businessman and billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.

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Al-Amoudi, who was born in Ethiopia to a Yemeni father and an Ethiopian mother, owns a broad portfolio of businesses in construction, energy, agriculture, mining, hotels, healthcare and manufacturing.

According to a Forbes report last year, his net worth was estimated to be $10.9bn. Forbes downgraded his net worth earlier this month to $1.2bn “due to a lack of clarity about which assets he still owns”.

Saudi Arabia’s Attorney General Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb said last January that the kingdom had seized more than $100bn in anti-corruption settlements.

Experts have noted that the arrests were a way for MBS to consolidate economic, as well as political, power in Saudi Arabia.

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