Saudi Arabia releases billionaire Sabih al-Masri

The Arab Bank chairman had been detained for questioning during a business trip to Riyadh.

Sahib al Masri
Al-Masri's detention sent shockwaves across Jordan, where his multibillion-dollar investments are a cornerstone of the economy [EPA]

Palestinian billionaire businessman Sabih al-Masri has been released by Saudi authorities following his detention last week.

Al-Masri told the Reuters news agency on Sunday that he was treated with “respect” by the Saudis and would be returning to the Jordanian capital, Amman, upon the conclusion of business meetings this week. 

In the meantime, he had returned to his home in Riyadh, the news agency reported.

The 80-year-old founder of Zara Investment Holding and chairman of the Arab Bank was held in the Saudi capital for questioning last week about “information related to corruption”, according to the Arab news website Rai al-Youm.

There were no formal charges against al-Masri, who reportedly also holds Saudi and Jordanian citizenship.

One of Jordan’s most prominent businessmen, Sabih al-Masri is the cousin of the billionaire Munib al-Masri, the wealthiest person in Palestine.

He also founded the Palestine Securities Exchange and has managed investment companies and financial economic institutions across the Middle East and beyond.

His detention sent shockwaves across Jordan, where al-Masri’s multibillion-dollar investments are a cornerstone of the economy.

His detention came amid an anti-corruption purge initiated by Saudi Arabia at the beginning of November, an unprecedented crackdown targeting some of the country’s top officials, businessmen and members of the royal family.

Source: Al Jazeera