November 4, 2018 / 5:34 PM / 11 days ago

Saudi Prince Alwaleed: Khashoggi probe will exonerate leader

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Saudi Arabian billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, an international businessman from the kingdom, said on Sunday that an official investigation into the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi will exonerate the country’s leader.

Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist critical of the Saudi government and its de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in early October.

Saudi Arabia should publicly release the findings of the murder investigation which would surely exonerate Saudi Arabia’s leader, Prince Alwaleed said on Fox News Channel’s “Sunday Morning Futures.”

“I ask Saudi Arabia now publicly, through your program, to have the investigation made public as soon as possible,” he said. “I believe the Saudi crown prince will be 100 percent vindicated and exonerated.”

Prince Alwaleed was detained last year with dozens of other wealthy Saudis in a move by the crown prince to consolidate power and reform the country.

On Sunday, Prince Alwaleed said his detention was “forgiven and forgotten.”

The crown prince’s allies have said last year’s crackdown was a fight against corruption and Prince Alwaleed agreed.

“Thank God that, after this incident, many of those that were detained had a big cleaning process,” he said.

FILE PHOTO: Saudi Arabian billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal attends the investment conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia October 23, 2018. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser/File Photo

Prince Alwaleed was freed from Riyadh’s Ritz-Carlton Hotel along with other royals, senior officials and businessmen, most of whom reached financial settlements with the authorities.

Prince Alwaleed denied reports that he had been tortured in custody and that officials stripped him of his wealth.

Reporting by Patrick Rucker; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh, Lisa Shumaker and Susan Thomas

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