Citigroup and Twitter shares could be unlikely casualties of a stunning power struggle unfolding in Saudi Arabia right now — at least temporarily.
Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, one of the world's richest men and a well-known investor who just appeared on CNBC last month, was one of the 11 princes detained in a supposed anti-corruption sweep over the weekend in Saudi Arabia. Alwaleed has not yet been charged, but is suspected of money laundering, according to the Wall Street Journal. His arrest may be less about corruption and more about Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman — the 32-year-old heir apparent to the throne — consolidating power.
Alwaleed runs Kingdom Holding Company, shares of which plunged in trading on the Saudi stock exchange Sunday as investors try to asses the future of the investment vehicle. He owns 95 percent of Kingdom Holding, part of his nearly $19 billion fortune, according to Forbes.
"I do think that certain positions that Prince Alwaleed may hold may be under pressure," said King Lip, chief strategist at Baker Avenue Asset Management. "I don't expect any long term effects coming from this. It really does appear that this is more about political consolidation of power by the crown prince than perhaps any corruption."
Twitter shares dropped 0.6 percent on Monday, while Citigroup shares were lower by 0.8 percent.
What typically happens on Wall Street when a hedge fund manager is arrested or charged by the SEC, is that the fund's large holdings will fall as traders look to get ahead of possible forced sales by the fund in order to meet redemptions.
This is a unique case not just because it involves Saudi Arabia, but also because Alwaleed's holdings are not exactly known. Much of the filings are old on KHC and the company likely masks some of its moves through the use of third parties. Theoretically, if it owned stakes above 5 percent in a stock, an SEC filing would say.
Alwaleed confirmed to CNBC on Oct. 23 that he still owned Twitter. Just how much, we do not know.