Arrested Saudi Billionaire Wanted to Invest in Croatia

Lauren Simmonds

A dodged bullet or a missed opportunity?

As Index writes on the 5th of November, 2017, billionaire and prince, Alwaleed bin Talal was arrested in Saudi Arabia along with numerous other officials and ministers.

Alwaleed controls the Kingdom Holding investor company and is one of the richest people in the world. He has invested in News Corpo, Citigroup, Twitter and many other massive, well-known companies. He also controls satellite networks that are viewed all over the Arabic world.

The now arrested billionaire and Saudi prince Alwaleed bin Talal stayed in Zagreb three years ago, this wasn’t the only visit made by the billionaire as had already spent the summer along the Adriatic on his luxury yacht.

Back in 2014, he arrived in Zagreb exclusively as a tourist, but made no particular effort to hide the fact that he was interested in investing. He spent a few days at Zagreb’s Esplanade Hotel. He then discovered which sector in Croatia was most interested in.

“What I see in Croatia is that the tourism sector is extremely important and is developing. As far as I know, tourism revenue last year amounted to about 6 billion euros, Croatia had about 10 million visitors, and that is the potential we’re looking for,” stated the Prince.

The Saudi prince then met with the then president Ivo Josipović at a working lunch in the popular coastal destination of Makarska.

“We’ll talk about my Kingdom Holding company and tell him what to expect from my country. I expect him to tell me what my needs and expectations of Croatia [should be], and the areas the government and Croatian citizens want to invest in,” the Saudi billionaire stated at the time.

He said that he and Josipović discussed more topics and shared hopes for further cooperation, especially in the field of tourism.

Alwaleed made a very concrete comment on Croatia’s tax system, stating that it should be made to be much more attractive than those of other countries, and that they should reduce the bureaucracy and be more more pro-active and aggressive in attracting investment.


Translated from


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