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Sat 29 Aug 2009 06:00 PM

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Saudi Arabia's Top 50 Rich List

Gain a never-before insight into the lives & fortunes of some of the richest men on earth.

Saudi Arabia's Top 50 Rich List
Saudi Arabia's Top 50 Rich List
(Getty Images)

 

As we all know, the Arab world is pretty reticent when it comes to discussing the private wealth of prominent families and individuals. By all means drive a fleet of $2m supercars, just don’t tell anyone how much you’ve got in the bank — or how you got it. And at the heart of this Arabic ‘omerta’ is Saudi Arabia: the Gulf’s biggest economy, but also its most opaque.

 

Click here to view the Saudi Arabia's Top 50 Rich List>>

Still, there’s nothing like a challenge, and so we’ve spent four months trawling everything from stock listings and share disclosures to luxury yachting sites, compiling hard data on over 300 families and individuals.

 

The Arabian BusinessSaudi Rich List 2009 is the most comprehensive study of the finances of the Kingdom’s rich elite ever published.

 

We’ve had people on the ground in Saudi doing just about everything but rooting through bins looking for receipts.

 

Cash holdings, property values, and individual assets have all been thrown into the mix. Got six Knightsbridge townhouses? You may have suffered in London’s real estate downturn, but you’re still worth a bit of money on today’s market. So your mega-yacht has a helipad (obviously), but also a sandy ‘beach’ that deploys on demand from its side wherever you are in the world? That’s worth a few dollars more.

 

We’ve had hiccups, too. The time a researcher elected to find out whether one company founder was still alive, by phoning his office direct and posing the question. Something was lost in translation; panic ensued when his long-suffering secretary got the wrong end of the stick and thought we were calling to inform them of his demise.

 

We know there will be omissions; we know that chances are we’ll have overshot a couple of the valuations: that’s what comes with the territory when you try to shine a light on one of the least open economies in the world.

 

What we can guarantee you is an unprecedented insight into the lives — and fortunes — of some of the richest men on earth. There are the big names (the arms dealer, the kidnap victim, the Bin Ladens) but there are also those who keep their fortunes close to their chest — the ‘Leader of Businessmen’ (it sounds better in Arabic), the ‘Sheikh of Gulf Tourism’, and one family firm that dates back to 1887.

 

We have deliberately not included royalty, with the exception of Prince Alwaleed, given that his wealth was achieved through his business dealings.

 

There will no doubt be a barrage of bouquets and brickbats now that this list has been published. But then that’s what happens when you lift the veil on a society otherwise unused to the glare of publicity: with a little candour, comes a lot of controversy.

 

Arabian Business: why we're going behind a paywall

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Mamdooh Al-Radadi 10 years ago

It's always intriguing and uplifting to see the end results of a hard years work on your list. The list is starting to take a new shape in terms of who is on it and what he has got in it! We were used to see certain names and eventually got bored, now we see some new ones entering slowly yet steadily from below, some of the wealth( in billions) was swept away after the last world crisis, but these people know what they are doing and continue to battle for their mark. Prince Alwaleed in my opinion will be there for many years to come due to his vast investment wallet which is spread over many sectors, giving him adequate momentum and serving at the same time as a soft cushion in down time. Great to see and know, as i said before this is a great way to dream bigger than your average dreams, keep up the good work.

Sridhar Kadambi 10 years ago

It is nice to see this list after such an extensive exercise that Arabian Business has conducted with regard to research and investigation. As a person who has lived in Saudi Arabia for 10 years and (actually) enjoyed every bit of it, and also in UAE for 5 years, I love to keep in touch with what is going on in that part of the world, and you guys seem to be really doing a great job at that! Keep up the good work, guys, and GBU!

aslam 10 years ago

Its seems these 50's are too small from the stars in the sky! There are lot more standing behind. To reach such height they must have definately worked hard in the extreme weathers and have choose straight way to come up.

Warda 10 years ago

ArabianBusiness refer in the Saleh Al Rajhi section to Forbes Magazine that Saleh "owns one of the largest poultry processing plants in Middle East "!!! If ArabianBusiness did their due delegence to calculate the wealth of Saleh Al Rajhi, they would have found that this Poultry farm is not for him but for his brother Sulaiman!! How much real effort was done by ArabianBusiness to get the real wealth of those people when they do not know if it is Saleh or Sulaiman that owns the largest poultry farm!!!!!!!????????

w.loarch 10 years ago

Mohammad Al Ali Al Abdullatif has only $ 374. 567 !!!!! And you forgot Said Ali Al Yumani with 324. 4567 Billion and 55 Cent!

Kiram Tuyedahanet 10 years ago

This list isn't worth the paper it's printed on! The Jufalis, e.g., are worth at least 12 Bilion, currently and many others, such as the Radjhis are not too far off....

Jens Cramer 10 years ago

At least it seems so that this work is well done. Congratulation. It give us a glimpse into these market.

Michael 10 years ago

Nothing much surprising about the list....othe then ...I wonder WHY MR. MAAN SANEA IS NOT IN THE LIST AND its automatically taken off the list just cos of some financial issues which most of the 50 on the list are having....i mentioned that why Mr. MAAN SANEA CHAIRMAN Of SAAD GROUP is not on the list!!!!!!!! on what "" FACTS" and bases SAAD GROUP IS NOT ON THE LIST~~~~Thats a example on how unprofessional such list is .... and as u see no exact statistics are shown nor baseline of how things are calculated.

Elias 10 years ago

The man is a God sent messenger to change the shattered image of his motherland as a land of man made famine, and he is working hard on that. He has done so much for ethiopia and he will continue to do so regardless of what every hater says. god bless him.

christian 10 years ago

Al Amoudi become a man that he is today becouse of Ethiopia, He has done a lot of things which are good for the country and also whhic is not good, however this man has become a billionair becouse of the most beautyful country in the world ETHIOPIA. God bless Ethiopia, Chris