DUBAI, United Arab Emirates
The billionaire Saudi prince who is a key shareholder in Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. voiced his support Wednesday for the embattled company and its leader.
Rupert Murdoch and his son James testified before a British parliamentary committee on Tuesday. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal said in a statement he fully supports the hearings held to assess alleged wrongdoing "as part of a necessary process to address the unacceptable practices" at the company's now shuttered News of the World paper.
"Rupert Murdoch and his son, James, answered all questions posed by (members of parliament) with full honesty and integrity," Alwaleed said.
The prince has a long-standing business relationship with the elder Murdoch, whom he said he has known for more than two decades.
Alwaleed controls 7 percent of News Corp. through his Kingdom Holding investment company, making it the largest investor in News Corp. after the Murdoch family itself.
In his statement, Alwaleed commended Rupert and James Murdoch for tackling problems at the company and for cooperating with investigators.
"I continue to see News Corp. as a valuable and long term investment and remain both supportive and confident in the leadership of Rupert and James Murdoch," Alwaleed said.
The prince's business dealings with the Murdochs go beyond his News Corp. stake.
News Corp. last year agreed to spend at least $70 million for a piece of Alwaleed's Rotana media company. He said Wednesday that News Corp.'s stake in the Arabic media giant, which also distributes Fox films across the Middle East, currently stands at 14 percent.
Alwaleed, a nephew of the Saudi monarch, was ranked as the world's 26th-richest person by Forbes magazine. His Kingdom Holding holds big stakes in several major American companies, including Citigroup Inc. and Apple Inc.