Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is suing Forbes Magazine for undervaluing his wealth by $9.6 billion.
Forbes’ annual “Rich List” gave bin Talal a net worth of $20 billion, listing him as No. 26th in terms of the world’s wealthiest men. The prince, however, insists that he is worth as much as $30 million and Forbes’ mistake can only be due to a bias towards Saudis.
If Forbes is actually wrong about his worth (which they rarely are), it’s not because of the prince’s ethnicity. It’s because the majority of his wealth is spread across a plethora of investments all over the world, which of course means that exchange rates and fluctuating stock markets along with other capitalist B.S. must be factored into the equation.
Unable to obtain all the necessary information to figure out an exact net worth, Forbes probably just made an estimation based on the information they had about the prince’s business endeavors.
He owns large stakes in Apple, Twitter and News Corporation, not to mention huge and luxurious properties like the Savoy Hotel in London. He also has a gold throne in the center of his private Boeing 747 jet.
Even worse for Forbes is the fact that Alwaleed is suing in England, one of the several countries that publishes an edition of the magazine. There is no first amendment in England, so it’s incredibly easy to win a defamation or libel case there.
Forbes is claiming that it has been the target of “intermittent lobbying, cajoling and threatening” by advisers to Alwaleed who want the prince’s ranking changed either in a statement or a new version of the issue.
Alwaleed believes he is being discriminated against because of his race.
“They are accusing me of market manipulation. I am not pursuing it because of my wealth, but because they are accusing Saudi Arabia of being manipulated because we have no casinos. This is unacceptable,” he said in a recent interview.
Forbes believes that, because of the UK’s latest libel reforms, the only way the prince will win the case is if his lawyers can prove that the ranking caused “serious harm” to his reputation and investments.
Yet considering the UK’s history of rewarding “libel tourists” in similar cases, Forbes might have to give up a boatload of money to a man who is obviously severely starved for cash these days.
Photo credit: WENN