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1. Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Al Saud\n$31.2bn ($25.9bn in 2012)\nSaudi Arabia
\nWhatever he touches generally turns to gold, and 2013 was no exception. In 2011, Alwaleed and Kingdom Holding Company (KHC) spent $300m on a stake in Twitter they said was worth more than 3 percent. When Twitter went public last month, the value of the prince's stake soared by 200 percent to $900m, after a 70 percent rise in the share price. Things have also been pretty impressive at Kingdom Holding in which the prince has a 95 percent share stake: the one year return on the stock had crossed a remarkable 35 percent by last Sunday. All this means that the prince is once again – for the 10th year running – the world’s richest Arab, with a personal fortune of $31.2bn. This figure has been verified by his private office. But the real strength of the overall KHC portfolio lies in sector diversity. It has major interests in investment categories ranging from luxury hotels and real estate to media and publishing, entertainment, finance and investment services, social media and technology, consumer and retail, petrochemicals, education, private equities, health care, aviation – even agriculture. KHC is among the world’s largest and most diverse investors, with regional and international holdings in many key industries. It is recognised as one of the largest foreign investors in the United States. The question in the past few years has been whether anyone else on the rich list could ever topple the prince from pole position. Based on the latest figures, the answer is a resounding no.
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2. Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber $12.66bn ($7bn) Saudi Arabia
\nProminent Arab philanthropist and businessman Sheikh Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber has spent the last 33 years building the MBI International Holding Group Inc into an established collection of major international companies. Following a steady stream of investments into existing businesses during 2012, the group saw 2013 as the perfect time to invest in new acquisitions and expand: JJW Hotels & Resorts, established in 1989, has - amongst other major investments for the year - recently taken over control of the Penina Hotel & Golf Resort from the Starwood Group. This latest addition to the 60 hotels already in JJW’s portfolio is set to be added to throughout the course of 2014. At the start of December 2013, MBI International Holding Group Inc also increased their interest in Austrian ski & sports equipment company, Kneissl to 100 percent - making it the sole owner. Established in 1861, this marquee brand is set to bring another dimension to an already diverse portfolio. Sheikh Mohamed is also an active philanthropist, funding scholarship programmes at some of the world’s top educational institutions through his own MBI Al Jaber Foundation.
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3. The Olayan family $12.5bn ($12.9bn) Saudi Arabia
\nIn third place this year is the Olayan family. This year marked the family business' 66th year of operations. It has come a long way since the summer of 1947 when Suleiman S. Olayan launched his first business in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. While still private and closely held, the group he founded has blossomed over the decades into a multinational enterprise with offices on three continents, and 50,000 people employed by 50 affiliated companies. Its main investment portfolio covers public and private equities, real estate, fixed income securities and other specialised assets. Suleiman is survived by his son Khaled and his three daughters - Hayat, Hutham and Lubna. This year, the group has partnered with the world's largest snack food company, Mondelez International to distribute its products in the kingdom.
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4. Mohammed Al Amoudi $12bn ($11.5bn) Saudi Arabia
\nOne of Arab world’s most successful businessmen, Al Amoudi’s father is Hadhrami Yemeni and his mother is Ethiopian. He immigrated to Saudi Arabia in 1965 and became a Saudi citizen, and is said to be the largest foreign investor in both Sweden and Ethiopia. Al Amoudi made his first fortune in construction and real estate before branching out into buying oil refineries in Morocco and Sweden and his native Ethiopia. His holding and operating companies, Corral Group and the Midroc Group, employ more than 40,000 people. Corral Group has an investment portfolio in Europe and the Middle East that includes Preem Petroleum, the largest integrated petroleum firm in Sweden, Svenska Petroleum & Exploration, SAMIR, Naft Services Company (Saudi Arabia) and Fortuna Holdings (Lebanon).
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13. The Kanoo family $6.1bn ($6.26bn) UAE (Bahrain)
\nThe biggest family firm in Bahrain, the Kanoo Group has now been in existence for over 120 years. Established in Bahrain in 1890 by Haji Yusuf Bin Ahmed Kanoo, it has grown from its early trading and shipping business to become one of the most diversified and highly regarded business houses in the Gulf region and beyond. After the death of chairman and CEO Abdulla Ali Kanoo, Yusuf Ahmed Kanoo has stepped up to take the top role in the organisation. Mishal Kanoo, one of the region’s most recognisable executives, remains as deputy chairman. It now has fourteen divisions in total, and employs 4,000 staff, with another 6,000 employed in its various joint venture operations. The company’s joint venture division was established over 25 years ago and has been linked to high profile names such as Axa Insurance, Norwich Union, Maersk and BASF.
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23. The Gargash family $3.7bn ($3.9bn) UAE
\nThe Emirates-based Gargash clan is well known in the business world. In the automobile sector, the Gargash family is the sole agent for Mercedes Benz in Dubai through Gargash Enterprises, whilst elsewhere, it is also involved in electronics, real estate, insurance, industrial development and construction. Founded in the last decade of the 19th century, the firm, which was built on the back of Abdul Gafour and his nephews, quickly emerged from a small body led by the late Ali Haji Abdulla Awazi Gargash, to one of the region’s leading trading houses today. Shehab Gargash has been particularly successful running Daman Investments, founded in 2000. Gargash received his college education in the US, earning an MBA in International Business (1988) and a BBA in Marketing (1987), both from the George Washington University in Washington, DC.
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34. Munib Masri $3bn ($3bn) Palestine
\nOften described as the Duke of Nablus or Palestine’s Rothschild, Masri is known as the patriarch of a prominent Palestinian family that has produced bankers, consultants and politicians. Masri, a geologist, hails from the West Bank town of Nablus from where he resides at his Palestine House, a palace of limestone resembling the Palladian style Villa La Rotonda in Vicenza, Italy. Masri, who was once a close confidant of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat (who offered him the premiership three times), made his fortune in oil and gas working in the Gulf region, North Africa and elsewhere. When the Oslo peace process kicked off Masri helped set up the Palestine Development and Investment Ltd. (PADICO), the largest private investor by initial investment in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which he chairs. The holding group controls over 30 companies across various industries that include telecommunications, construction, tourism, energy, environment, banking, finance and agriculture. He also founded the Edgo group (industry, commerce, health, education, distribution), which oversees 29 companies across the Middle East, Africa, Europe and North America. Masri, who is a member of the Palestine Central Council, is also a philanthropist.
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41. Wafic Said $2.6bn ($2.5bn) UK (Syria)
\nWafic Said may be a few millions worse off after the wedding of his daughter in Paris’ Palace of Versailles last year, but it’s unlikely that the nuptials will have made too much of a dent in the Syrian-born billionaire' s pocket. Said, who has Saudi nationality but lives in London - is still best-known for Al Yamamah — the colossal Saudi fighter jets contract that is Britain’s biggest ever export deal. Said is the chairman of Said Holding Limited, a Bermuda-based holding company with investments in Europe, North America and the Far East. The firm has a diverse portfolio of investments including fixed income, quoted equities, hedge funds, private equity and real estate. Said, who now splits his time between the UK, Paris and Monaco, started his career at UBS in 1963 before establishing a project development and construction management business in Saudi Arabia in 1969. Over the next two decades his group took on some of the largest public sector projects in the kingdom and he became a billionaire through his connections with Saudi’s royal family, acting as an advisor and consultant on many major infrastructure projects. In 1996, he donated £23m ($35.85m) to help establish the Said Business School at the University of Oxford.
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45. Nadhmi Auchi $2.2bn ($2.3bn) UK (Iraq)
\nNadhmi Auchi is a British-Iraqi businessman, who moved to the UK in the 1980s, an d is chairman of the Anglo-Arab Organisation with stakes in construction and trading companies in Iraq. Auchi founded Luxembourg-based General Mediterranean Holdings, which has business segments in banking and finance, real estate, construction, hotel and leisure, industrial, trading and pharmaceuticals, communications, IT and aviation. Its interests today span across the Mediterranean and beyond with over 120 companies employing some 11,000 staff with representation in the Middle East, Northern Africa, Europe, the Americas, the Caribbean, the Asia subcontinent and the Pacific Rim. The group’s consolidated assets now exceed $4bn. Hotel holdings include Le Royal in Luxembourg, Amman, Beirut, Tangier and Tunis. He has been honoured for his services to the business community by the Queen, and Pope John Paul II, among others.