Prominent Saudi billionaire businessman Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has been released with "no charges" after nearly three months of detention.
“He has arrived home", a source from Prince Alwaleed's family confirmed to Reuters on Saturday.
“He sounded very happy, well and the same," a colleague of Prince Alwaleed told Financial Times, also confirming his release.
The news came just hours after the billionaire, also known as "the richest Arab", told Reuters he expected to be released very soon, with his name cleared of any wrongdoing.
Prince Alwaleed was detained along with hundred of others prominent Saudis in early November in a wide-reaching anti-corruption probe. Members of the royal family, former and current government leaders and prominent businessmen were detained in the so-called "purge."
Other prominent figures were released within weeks or months, agreeing to financial deals to settle the charges against them.
"Most detainees faced with corruption allegations by the committee agreed to a settlement. The necessary arrangements are being finalized to conclude such agreements," the kingdom's attorney general Saud al-Mojeb said in December.
Rumors and concern for Prince Alwaleed have rocked the international business community throughout his months long detention. The billionaire's organization – Kingdom Holding – has investments in top global companies such as Twitter and Citigroup, leading some to warn about the potential repercussions of his arrest.
Earlier in the investigation, media reports suggested that the prince was asked to hand over as much as $6 billion in assets to secure his release. However, according to Prince Alwaleed, all charges will be dropped.
“There are no charges. There are just some discussions between me and the government,” he said in the interview right before his release, according to The Telegraph. “I believe we are on the verge of finishing everything within days.”
At the time of writing, Bloomberg ranks Prince Alwaleed as the 68th richest person in the world, estimating his net-worth to be about $18.1 billion.
Reports suggested that Prince Alwaleed's personal wealth and business interests suffered during his detention. But Kingdom Holding's chief executive insisted everything was fine in December.
Talal Al Maiman said that the firm maintains more than $12.5 billion under management globally and "enjoys a solid financial position underpinned by a prudent and conservative funding plan."
Following the billionaire's detention, it was reported in November that he had sold his $1.5 billion stake in 21st Century Fox, the entertainment company controlled by Rupert Murdoch. Lebanese media also reported that the prince was selling the luxurious Four Seasons Hotel and Movenpick Hotel in Beirut.
Seeming to calm all concern, Prince Alwaleed insisted that everything is fine and he has been very comfortable throughout his detention in the Riyadh Ritz Carlton, where Saudi authorities held the prominent suspects in the probe.
"I have nothing to hide at all. I'm so comfortable, I'm so relaxed. I shave here, like at home. My barber comes here. I'm like at home, frankly speaking," he said.
"I told the government I'd stay as much as they want, because I want the truth to come out on all my dealings and on all things that are around me."
Prince Alwaleed said he stayed longer than other detainees to clear up any misunderstandings.
"There's a misunderstanding and it's being cleared. So I'd like to stay here until this thing is over completely and get out and life goes on," he said just before his release was reported.
"We have now a new leadership in Saudi Arabia, and they just want to cross all the Ts and dot all the Is. And I said: 'Fine, that's fine with me, no problem at all. Just go ahead.'"
The prince also said he was particularly upset by media reports suggesting he'd been sent to prison and tortured.
"They’re unacceptable completely. They are just a bunch of lies," he said.
Some Saudi critics have painted the anti-corruption purge as a move by King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to consolidate power and support. However, Prince Mohammed pointed out in a November interview with The New York Times that many of the detainees, such as Prince Alwaleed, had already voiced their strong support for the new leaders' vision.
"Our country has suffered a lot from corruption from the 1980s until today. The calculation of our experts is that roughly 10 percent of all government spending was siphoned off by corruption each year, from the top levels to the bottom," the crown prince said.
"You have to send a signal, and the signal going forward now is, ‘You will not escape.’ And we are already seeing the impact."
And according to Prince Alwaleed's most recent interview, his long detention hasn't changed anything about his allegiance and support of the Saudi leadership.
"I will not leave Saudi Arabia, for sure. This is my country. I have my family, my children, my grandchildren here. I have my assets here. My allegiance is not on the table," he said.