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Shunned by Europe, Greece turns to Saudi prince

STRINGER | AFP | Getty Images

As European leaders openly disagree over whether Greece will get further financial aid, the country's prime minister has turned to Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal for investment.

Greek Prime minister Antonis Samaras met the Saudi prince, who has large stakes in Citigroup and Apple and is ranked 26th on Forbes' rich list, in an attempt to discuss investment opportunities.

Greece is looking to sell assets including utility companies, Athens' international airport and two of its main ports. The country is also looking for investments in several real estate developments which could interest the prince, who is the part owner of luxury hotels in London, New York and Paris.

Greece has been accused of dragging its feet on privatization. A government official who declined to be named played down Alwaleed's visit, however, telling Reuters: "It was a customary visit, there is interest in investing in Greece."

(Read more: Greece Minister: Failure to Meet Bailout Terms Not Our Fault)

Other foreign investors in Greece include Qatar holdings which invested in a gold mining project and the Chinese port operator Cosco which invested in Greece's Piraeus port.

The move by Athens to look elsewhere for funding comes at a time when euro zone policymakers have been engaged in a public debate over whether the country needs a third bailout. International lenders have already granted Greece two bailouts worth around 240 billion euros but Greece faces a further funding gap of up to 10 billion euros ($13.1 billion ) by September, according to some accounts.

(Read more: Greece back as hot issue in German elections)

"There are two issues in Greece," Thanos Vamvakidis, head G10 FX Strategy at Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Research told CNBC. "There is a funding gap in 2014 and 2015 and this needs to be covered, though it will be discussed in the October review (of the bailout program)."

Vamvakidis told CNBC Europe's "Squawk Box" that Greece needed a debt writedown of at least 10 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP). "It has to be done because most of the Greek debt is going to the rest of Europe, if they don't provide them with debt relief then Greece won't be able to repay them."

"The important thing is that they need to provide more money for Greece, the problem is with the design of the [bailout] program…[the program] assumed that Greece would reach a primary surplus of 4.5 percent and keep this for 20 years- no country has ever done this, it's impossible."

- By CNBC's Holly Ellyatt, follow her on Twitter @HollyEllyatt. Follow us on Twitter @CNBCWorld.

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