Microsoft founder Bill Gates in an email to Bloomberg Monday dared to speak in favor of Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal whom he called an “important partner”.
Alwaleed has been detained along with 200 others in a corruption clean-up drive directed by Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman.
The 62-year old businessman is listed among the richest men in the Arab world and in the world. The man has invested in several businesses around world. The businesses include Twitter Inc, Apple, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., Citigroup, Four Seasons, Fairmont and Movenpick hotel chains.
His wealth is estimated at $18.7 billion.
Despite his large network of partners and friends, Alwaleed has received no support since his arrest early this month. Taking position in favor the Saudi Prince will translate as an opposition to the Saudi Crown Prince.
With his e-mail to Bloomberg, Gates has however broken the silence.
“I’m only aware of what I’ve read in the press, and I can’t speculate,” the Microsoft co-founder said in the e-mailed statement.
“Prince Alwaleed has been an important partner in my foundation’s work to ensure that kids around the world receive life-saving vaccinations. We’ve worked together to help stop the spread of polio, measles, and other preventable diseases. His commitment to philanthropy is inspiring.”
Both men collaborated on several projects. The owner of Saudi Holding Co. teamed up with Gate’s Cascade Investment LLC to take control of the Four Seasons, a hotel chain, several years ago.
They also work together with other wealthy investors to promote energy technology.