Tech’s favourite royal — Prince Alwaleed bin Talal — has been arrested in Saudi Arabia
In a transfer certain to shock the enterprise world, Saudi Arabia final night time introduced the arrest of at the very least eleven princes, together with famend billionaire investor Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, as a part of a sweeping corruption investigation.
Prince Alwaleed controls the funding agency Kingdom Holding and is among the world’s richest males, proudly owning or having owned main in satellite tv for pc TV networks, in addition to in Information Corp. (a stake it has since largely offered), Citigroup (shares of which it has owned since 1991), and a rising variety of tech firms.
The prince and Kingdom Holding, of which he owns 95 p.c, first invested $300 million in Twitter in 2011, two years earlier than the corporate went public. In 2015, he invested one other $50 million to enhance his possession in Twitter and, as of final 12 months, remained one of many firm’s largest shareholders.
In 2013, Kingdom additionally acquired 2.5 p.c of China-based retailer JD.Com, which went public on the Nasdaq the next 12 months and whose shares have roughly doubled since.
Prince Alwaleed and Kingdom additional acquired a stake within the car-hailing firm Lyft early final 12 months, shopping for a few of the shares of its earlier buyers Andreessen Horowitz and Founders Fund.
The prince and his different members of his funding firm additionally introduced in March 2015 that they’d sat down with Snap CEO Evan Spiegel and the corporate’s chief technique officer, Imran Khan, in 2015 a couple of attainable funding within the firm, although a number of months later, a supply near the prince mentioned Kingdom had no plans to speculate.
In an surprising twist, beleaguered condiments maker Hampton Creek mentioned it restocked its board final month after its former administrators left, and Prince Alaweed is reportedly amongst its new board members. It isn’t clear whether or not the prince has supplied Hampton Creek with any funding. Bloomberg famous in a report that the prince is a animal rights activist. Hampton Creek makes a vegan mayonnaise and is claimed to be engaged on lab-grown meat.
In response to the New Time Instances, the arrests look like a transfer to consolidate the ability of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a son and the highest adviser of King Salman, who had introduced the creation of a brand new anti-corruption committee — headed by the crown prince — simply hours earlier than the arrests have been ordered.
In response to the Instances, the Ritz Carlton in Riyadh was subsequently evacuated, presumably to accommodate the arrested royals, and the airport for personal planes shuttered, presumably to cease anybody from attempting to flee the nation.
Final 12 months, the prince joined numerous different billionaires in signing up for the “Giving Pledge of Invoice Gates and Warren Buffett; amongst others to enroll on the time have been Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff; the three cofounders of Airbnb (Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia and Nathan Blecharczyk); and Intuit founder Scott Prepare dinner.
Because the Instances notes, it’s unclear whether or not Saudi Arabia’s corruption committee may search to confiscate any of Prince Alwaleed’s property, estimated to be $32 billion.
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