Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has claimed that the Forbes Billionaires List is seriously flawed and biased against Middle Eastern investors. In light of these accusations, he has severed ties with the publication and called for removal of his name from the list.
The fresh list valuates the personal fortune of Prince Alwaleed, a grandson of Saudi Arabia’s founder and a nephew of King Abdullah, at an estimated USD 20 billion. While he has been ranked 26th in the 2013 list, his wealth is believed to be around USD 28 billion by some other publications. Prince Alwaleed is a prominent and one of the wealthiest Middle Eastern investors, with his Kingdom Holding Company holding shares in Citigroup, News Corp and Apple Inc.
A statement issued by Kingdom Holding says that the Forbes valuation process used “incorrect data” and “seemed designed to disadvantage Middle Eastern investors and institutions.” The publication has been accused of disregarding share values listed on the Saudi Arabian bourse, Tadawul, and applying “purely arbitrary discounts” to holdings not backed up by brokerage statements.
Prince Alwaleed has protested that the practice of not accepting Saudi share valuations is unfair as the value of other equities on other emerging stock markets is considered for wealth calculations. Therefore, he has requested Forbes to remove his name from the list and his officials would no longer work with the Forbes valuation teams. Forbes has not responded to this request at the moment.
Published since 1987, the Forbes Billionaires List seeks to rank the world’s billionaires by vetting all with the. However, external experts are consulted for wealth estimations in case the billionaires do not fully cooperate. With a net wealth of about USD 73 billion, Carlos Slim from Mexico tops the 2013 list. He is followed by Bill Gates (USD 67 billion) and Amancio Ortega (USD 57 billion) on the billionaire list.