By Andy Sambidge
Saudi billionaire issues second statement to question 'fairness and objectivity' of wealth rankings
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, chairman of Kingdom Holding, has launched a new attack on US magazine Forbes over its latest estimation of the Saudi billionaire's wealth.
In a second statement issued on behalf of the Prince, the Arab world's wealthiest individual, he questioned the "fairness and objectivity" of Forbes' valuation process and claimed it was an "insult".
It added that Forbes had acknowledged the concerns raised and had pledged to "strive for accuracy".
On Tuesday the latest Forbes billionaires list said the prince was worth $20bn - far less than the $25.9bn estimate by Arabian Business three months ago.
The statement, issued by Shadi Sanbar, chief financial officer of Kingdom Holding Co, said suggestions by Forbes that the investment firm had switched auditors in a row over the value of the company were "not true".
"Corporate Governance experts in the aftermath of Enron recommend changing auditor firms with regularity and Saudi Arabia requires public companies to change auditors every three years," said the new statement.
"The switch to Price Waterhouse was part of this mandated switch. There were no disputes with Ernst and Young who would have been required to disclose them if they existed," it added.
The statement continued: "An implication in the accompanying Forbes article is that Kingdom Holding is less than transparent in its financial reporting and that even our auditors were suspicious. Nothing could be further from the truth."
In an earlier statement, Prince Alwaleed and Kingdom Holding Co announced that they have ended their long-standing relationship with the Forbes Billionaires List.
The relationship was severed in a letter from Alwaleed requesting that he be removed from the list and informing Forbes that Kingdom Holding officials would no longer work with the Forbes valuation teams.
The statement cited a number of issues with Forbes, including "a sudden refusal after six years to accept share values as listed by the Tadawul – Saudi Arabia’s fully regulated stock exchange".
I was with the Prince until my 11yo daughter asked me, what is the big deal he has his money, still rich, it is not like they taking any money from him? That put things in perspective for me.
If Kingdom Holding is really cooperative, they should immediately release to the public detailed data about ALL their holdings so the valuations can be validated publicly by market experts. Otherwise if they cannot keep up, they should stop complaining. If you've got it, SHOW IT!
Congratulations to the Prince for his persistence in accumulating the wealth that he has been blessed with. As far as I am concerned, that is the end of the story. Adults should have better things to do with their time than discuss their wealth. "Beware of pride!"
i agree with rebecca some of the firms holdings are not even known to the public, which as a public company (even though 5% is floated) he is required. forbes said they were more then willing to look at their numbers again however the prince prior of him severing ties with the magazine refused. the bottom line is that this row is hurting his public image locally and internationaly. this is not a way for a man of his stature to be acting, he is a prince to one of our most important countries in the world.
Does money really buy happiness? I rest my case.
I agree with Prince statements as it is the matter of his reputation in the world.
The prince is one of the richest man and one should be treated according to his status and the ranking should be near to zero % accurate.
In fact, it's been scientifically proved that on the long term giving makes people happier than receiving. I know it sounds strange, but it seems to be true. I know he already does charity, but any man with insane and un-spendable amounts of money can do way more for the unfortunate...
MSY... He may have reputation in your part of the world . But in the West he is just another rich Arab.