Saudi billionaire sues magazine for underestimating wealth

Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has sued Forbes magazine for libel in a British court, alleging its valuation of his wealth at $20bn (€15.2bn) was short of the mark by $9.6bn.

Saudi billionaire sues magazine for underestimating wealth

The prince, a grandson of Saudi Arabia’s founder and a nephew of King Abdullah, had attacked the US magazine’s ranking of world billionaires as flawed and biased against Middle Eastern businesses after he was ranked number 26 in this year’s list.

An official at the High Court in London confirmed Prince Alwaleed had filed a defamation suit against Forbes, editor Randall Lane, and two of its journalists on Apr 30. Details of the claim were not immediately ava ilable.

Through his Kingdom Holding Company, Prince Alwaleed owns large stakes in Citigroup, News Corp, and Apple, among other companies. He is also owner or part-owner of luxury hotels including the Plaza in New York, the Savoy in London, and the George V in Paris.

This year’s Forbes World Billionaires list was published on Mar 4. The next day Kingdom Holding said the valuation process used “incorrect data” and “seemed designed to disadvantage Middle Eastern investors and institutions“.

The public spat attracted a lot of comment, but Forbes stuck by its estimate of Prince Alwaleed’s wealth and published an in-depth article in its March 25 issue entitled ‘Prince Alwaleed and the curious case of Kingdom Holding stock’.

The article giving details about how it arrived at the figure of $20bn and criticised a ‘lack of transparency’ by Kingdom Holding in detailing its assets.

It also described Prince Alwaleed’s marble-filled, 420-room Riyadh palace and his private Boeing 747 equipped with a throne.

No date has been set for a court hearing.

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