Kingdom gains most since 2014 after prince is freed


DUBAI • Kingdom Holding Co surged after its chairman Prince Alwaleed Talal was released from the Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh, which served as a prison for billionaires and princes since the nation started its anti-corruption campaign in November.

The shares gained 10%, the most since November 2014 and the maximum allowed in a day. The billionaire, who also owns stakes in Citigroup Inc and Twitter Inc, returned home on Saturday after reaching a settlement with authorities, a senior government official said on condition of anonymity. He will remain at the helm of his company, the official said.

His departure from the hotel, along with other prominent Saudi businessmen, marks the end of the first phase of Crown Prince Mohammed Salman’s anticorruption campaign. Hundreds of suspects were arrested or summoned for questioning, including some of the country’s richest men.

The government expects to reap more than US$100 billion (RM387 billion) from settlements with detainees in exchange for their freedom.

The shares rose to 10.04 riyals (RM10.37) as of 10:52am in Riyadh last Friday, but they are still more than 2% below the level before the prince was arrested. The Tadawul All Share Index was little changed.

Clothing retailer Fawaz Abdulaziz Al Hokair & Co also advanced after billionaire Fawaz Alhokair was also released from detention. The stock advanced as much as 8.1%, the most since November, before paring its gain to 6.6%.