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Clash erupts between Prince Alwaleed and Forbes


Saudi Prince Alwaleed, one of the world's richest men, has 'severed ties' with Forbes for underestimating his wealth.

March 5, 2013 4:38 by

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, one of the world’s richest men, has ‘severed ties’ with Forbes Magazine over ‘inaccurate’ information in their annual list of the world’s billionaires, according to a report by the Financial Times.

In its 2013 edition – which was published today – the business magazine ranked the Saudi Prince as the world’s 26th richest individual and estimated his wealth at $20 billion. This number is $2 billion higher than last year but $9.6 billion less than what the prince says he is actually worth. He adds that he is meant to be ranked at number 10.

In response to the list – Kingdom Holding Group, an investment group in which Alwaleed owns a 95 percent stake – has released a statement accusing Forbes’ valuation methods of being flawed “which resulted in the use of incorrect data and seemed designed to disadvantage Middle Eastern investors and institutions.”

In a letter to Steve Forbes (owner), Alwaleed said that he no longer wants to be included in their annual list, will not be providing them with information about his finances and, according to The Guardian, has reportedly instructed his lawyers over the matter.

When several large media publications including The Guardian and Business Insider contacted Forbes for a statement, they said they’d been investigating Alwaleed’s finances for several years and would detail their findings in a feature story.

The story, entitled ‘Why Prince Alwaleed’s Wealth Numbers Don’t Add Up‘, has now been officially published on Forbes online. It begins with a rather bold statement, and is succeeded by many others.

“While public companies are almost always a market-proven determinant of net worth, in light of Kingdom’s opacity, small float and thin, questionable trading, FORBES decided to focus on the underlying assets.”

The article goes on to say that any reporter who has spent any time with the Saudi royal – or shown any amount of interest – can expect to ‘at some point receive little gifts’ and that the prince ‘had charged his CFO with making sure the Forbes list was to his liking; specifically $29.6 billion, which would return him to the top ten position he has craved’.

So far, the relationship between the two seems to be wearing thin. Only time will tell what the future holds, and it really all depends on the nature of the rebuttal- if there is any – that the prince will provide.

Read the full article here.

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