Saudi-Ethiopian billionaire Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi released

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Top Businessman in Ethiopia, Mohammed Hussien Ali Al-amoudi (Sheikh) who has an estimated net worth of $10bn has been released from prison in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi businessman had been in prison for more than one (1) year with the anti-corruption campaign of the Saudi kingdom.

Office of the Prime Minister of Ethiopia confirmed Al-amoudi’s release on Sunday afternoon. PM Abiy Ahmed traveled to Saudi Arabia in May 2018 and discussed a number of issues including the release of Al-Amoudi, with the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud.

According to Reuters, Al-amoudi had returned to one of his homes in western Jeddah on Sunday. And according to local reports, he arrived in Addis Ababa on Monday.

Amoudi was detained at Riyadh’s Ritz-Carlton hotel in November 2017 along with a number of princes, minissters, and businessmen after the Saudi kingdom launched the “anti-corruption purge”. They were detained with allegations including money laundering, bribery, and extorting officials.

Most of the detainees were freed after reaching settlement deals with the Saudi government, including Saudi businessman and billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.

Amoudi, who was born in Ethiopia to a Yemeni father and an Ethiopian mother, owns a broad level of businesses in construction, energy, agriculture, mining, hotels, healthcare and manufacturing.

Last year Forbes reported that Amoudi’s net worth is estimated to be $10.9bn. Now Forbes downgraded his net worth to $1.2bn stating “due to a lack of clarity about which assets he still owns.”

It is unclear how much, of Amoudi’s wealth has been handed over to the state in exchange for his release. There had been reports in the past that Saudi Arabia started talks with billionaires arrested at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Riyadh, including Al-amoudi, with the aim to release the prisoners in exchange for a huge sum of money to be paid to the Saudi government.

Al Amoudi among with other prisoners had refused to give up some or more of his wealth to secure release from prison, according to reports in January 2018. Last January, Saudi Arabia’s Attorney General Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb said that the kingdom had seized more than $100bn in anti-corruption settlements.

Al-amoudi has a huge business empire in Ethiopia estimated over three billion US dollars. Last year, the Ethiopian government declined to renew his gold mining license after residents in the area lodged complaints on grounds of environmental pollution. He has also lost plots of land he took for redevelopment in Addis Ababa.

Due to the recent reform in the city government of Addis Ababa more than 410 hectares of land awarded to investors have been returned to the Addis Ababa Land Bank and Transfer Office. The investors had failed to honor their promises of developing the land they were awarded to create jobs for the city’s teeming youth population.

The Transfer office reclaimed 55 hectares of land from MIDROC Ethiopia, a private company owned by Al-amoudi while he was in prison. According to reports, MIDROC Ethiopia leased about 33,000 square feet of land in the heart of Addis Ababa in 2005, promising to build a city center, but has failed to fulfill its promise.