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Thu 27 Nov 2014 11:11 AM

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Prince Alwaleed claims victory in Forbes libel case

Saudi royal sued US magazine over claims he dishonestly manipulated the share price of Kingdom Holding

Prince Alwaleed claims victory in Forbes libel case

Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud said he was "pleased" that a UK judge has ruled in his favour in a defamation case against Forbes magazine, according to a statement from the royal's official office on Wednesday.

"The Prince has consistently maintained that Forbes defamed him by falsely accusing him of defaulting on important contractual obligations, dishonestly manipulating the share price of Kingdom Holding Company, and firing KHC's auditor because it raised concerns that KHC's value was over-estimated," the statement said in relation to articles written by the magazine in April 2013.

"With today's ruling the court confirms that the Forbes articles made defamatory accusations, thereby strengthening Prince Alwaleed's claims. The lawsuit will now move forward to hold Forbes accountable for their inaccurate reporting, to correct these false and damaging allegations and to vindicate HRH Prince Alwaleed's reputation," the statement added.

Forbes also claimed victory from this week's verdict in its own statement: "The Prince claimed that the magazine accused him of manipulating his company’s share price to inflate his net worth and raise his ranking on the Forbes list. The Court rejected that claim, finding the articles merely detailed the magazine’s strong grounds for suspecting that the Prince had sought to mislead readers of its list by inflating Kingdom Holding's share price, and thereby his net worth, by billions of dollars. The court also dismissed the Prince’s company, Kingdom Holding, as a plaintiff in the case."

In June this year, Prince Alwaleed, chairman of KHC, launched his libel action against the US-based magazine.

The legal move came three months after Alwaleed cut ties with Forbes after accusing it of underestimating his wealth in its billionaires list.

The magazine said the prince was worth $20 billion - far less than the $25.9 billion estimated by Arabian Business in early 2014.

In court documents seen by the UK's The Guardian newspaper, Prince Alwaleed claimed the magazine used flawed methodology to calculate his wealth and has accused Forbes of purposefully leaving him out of the top 10.

The paper said the prince, whose high-profile stakes include Citigroup, News Corp and Twitter, has filed a defamation claim against the Forbes publisher, its editor Randall Lane and two of its journalists.

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