Saudi Arabia has freed an Ethiopia-born billionaire who was arrested in 2017 as part of a vast anti-corruption campaign.
Mohammed al-Amoudi “has been released from prison in Saudi Arabia,” Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office said on its official Twitter account.
“We wish Mohammed Al Amoudi a safe return to Ethiopia.”
The release of the 72-year-old could not be immediately confirmed by a Saudi source.
According to Forbes, Amoudi is a Saudi citizen born of a Saudi father and an Ethiopian mother. He owns companies operating in agriculture, energy and construction in several countries.
Amoudi, whose fortune was estimated by Forbes in 2017 at $8.3 billion, was arrested in November 2017 in a Saudi purge that included the arrests of princes, ministers and businessmen for alleged corruption. He was detained along with other suspcts at Riyadh’s luxurious Ritz-Carlton Hotel.
The authorities in the oil-rich Gulf kingdom have since made financial “arrangements” in exchange for the release of most of the people arrested.
Critics of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s controversial de facto ruler, say the arrests were an attempt to push aside potential rivals and consolidate his power.
– with reporting by Agence France-Presse