Saudi crown prince's efforts to reform kingdom are 'real,' Prince Alwaleed says

Despite the global backlash Saudi Arabia has experienced since the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and its delayed and conflicting response over its role in the incident, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal said on Sunday he believes Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) will be “vindicated and exonerated.”

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“You have to understand Jamal was not only my friend, he was working with me … what took place in that Saudi consulate was clearly horrific, despicable and tragic, and I believe that Saudi Arabia is going to get to the bottom of it, but please, you have to give us some time until the investigation is done and made public by the government of Saudi Arabia,” the prince said during an exclusive interview with Maria Bartiromo on “Sunday Morning Futures,” adding, “I ask Saudi Arabia publically … to have the investigation made public as soon as possible, so whereby I believe the Saudi Crown prince will be 100 percent vindicated and exonerated.”

Alwaleed also believes that the Saudi Crown prince is a true reformer, despite being arrested along with 10 other princes, officials and wealthy businessmen in November 2017 when King Salman and MBS began a sweeping anti-corruption campaign in the kingdom. One of the richest men in the world and owner of the Kingdom Holding Company, Alwaleed was detained for 83 days at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh. Alwaleed reportedly had to pay billions to be released.

“We are on excellent terms with the crown prince, the king and Saudi Arabia,” he said. “As for Crown Prince Mohammed, yes, I assure you he’s for real. And all that he’s doing is changing Saudi Arabia in a very revolutionary manner – socially, economically, financially … so Saudi Arabia right now is witnessing a huge development and changes,” he stressed.

One of the richest men in the world (he was said to have a net worth of $18.7 billion in 2017, according to Forbes, which left him off this year's list) and owner of the Kingdom Holding Company, Alwaleed was detained for 83 days at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh during the sweeping anti-corruption campaign in the kingdom.

That incident, combined with the death of Khashoggi, has further clouded relations with the U.S. – Sen. Lindsey Graham told “Sunday Morning Futures” last month he felt betrayed by the crown prince’s behavior, and “will never go back” as long as he is in power.

Even with the criticism from influential U.S. lawmakers, Alwaleed believes the bond between both powers will not break.

“Saudi Arabia is the beacon of tranquility, stability and integrity in this region,” he said. “Look at Yemen, look at Iraq, look at Syria, look at Iran – they’re all turbulent. Saudi Arabia is the beacon of stability in this region. So our alliance since 1945 when our King Abdul Aziz ibn Saud met President [Franklin D.] Roosevelt is well-established and is going to be intact and is going to be living for a long time to come,” he said.