Maltese Citizen, Prince Honoured With Ġieħ ir-Repubblika Freed From Saudi Jail
They had been arrested as part of an anti-corruption crackdown in Saudi Arabia
Left: Prince Alwaleed bin Talal honoured by Malta's President, Right: Waleed al-Ibrahim
Maltese citizen Waleed al-Ibrahim and Ġieħ ir-Repubblika recipient Prince Alwaleed bin Talal have been freed from prison in Saudi Arabia two months after they were arrested as part of a corruption crackdown.
Media mogul Sheikh Waleed al-Ibrahim, chairman of the Middle East Broadcasting Centre, the largest private media company in the Middle East, received Maltese citizenship in 2016 - possibly through the ‘cash-for-citizenship’ IIP scheme.
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal was granted a Ġieħ ir-Repubblika honour in 2014 for philanthropic work he intended to carry out in Malta, charity work that President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca recently said has not yet materialised.
Both powerful men were arrested three months ago as part of a major anti-corruption purge by Saudi Arabia’s new Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. However, they have now been released.
”There are no charges. There are just some discussions between me and the government," Prince Alwaleed bin Talal said in an interview with Reuters.
Although Sheikh Waleed al-Ibrahim has been released, he looks set to lose control over his media empire - with Reuters reporting Saudi authorities plan to acquire 60% of the broadcaster’s shares.