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Thursday, 22 August, 2002, 10:29 GMT 11:29 UK
Saudi prince denies US asset flight
500 Saudi Arabian riyals
The amount of Saudi money leaving the US is unclear
A senior member of the Saudi ruling family has denied investors are fleeing the US and said he was increasing his investments there.

Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, the nephew of King Fahd, told the BBC that there was no evidence of a Saudi pull-out.


There is no doubt the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the US is going through some turbulent period right now

Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud
"I'm holding onto all of them (my investments) and in all honesty increasing my stakes in certain companies in the US," he said.

Some Saudi businessmen and economist warned last weekend that investors would withdraw from the US after a $1,000bn lawsuit was filed claiming Saudis, including members of the royal family, funded the 11 September attacks.

The Financial Times added fuel to the story on Wednesday by reporting that Saudi investors had already withdrawn $200bn from the US.

"I have read the Financial Times and I was surprised," he said.

"My information tells me none of this is correct. Now there may be some withdrawals, but not of the magnitude mentioned in the Financial Times."

"What I am telling you represents the position of the Saudi Royal Family 100%."

While there are no precise figures on how much Saudi investors have committed to the US, analysts put the total at about $600bn.

'Unrealistic' environment

The denial comes as Saudi newspaper Al-Watan reported that a group of Saudi businessmen had pulled out of a technology project in New York over fears of having their assets frozen by US authorities.

The Saudi Gazette on Wednesday reported that the governor of the Saudi General Investment Authority, Prince Abdullah bin Faisal bin Turki, expected repatriation of Saudi capital invested abroad soon.

The Saudi banks, also named in the US lawsuit, have denied any role in funding terrorism.

They claim the case is an attempt to extort Saudi wealth and pressurise their country into supporting US policies on Iraq and the Middle East.

Washington has named 15 Saudis among the 19 hijackers on 11 September.

"There is no doubt the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the US is going through some turbulent period right now, but eventually it will go back to normalcy," said Prince Al-Waleed.

"The US right now is in a mood that is unrealistic and I hope that once the dust settles the US government, people and the media will go back to reality and normal."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Matt Heavens
"Calls within the kingdom of a boycott of US goods"
Prince Al-Waleed
"Now there may be some withdrawals, but not of the magnitude mentioned in the Financial Times."

Key stories

European probe

Background

IN DEPTH
See also:

21 Aug 02 | Business
17 Aug 02 | Americas
16 Aug 02 | Middle East
16 Aug 02 | Americas
12 Mar 02 | Americas
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