Saudi Prince Alwaleed sues over Forbes' rich list

The billionaire has filed a libel suit claiming the magazine's annual ranking of the world's wealthiest people underestimated his fortune.

By Aimee Picchi Jun 7, 2013 3:24PM

Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal (© Fahad Shadeed/Reuters)The rich aren't like you or me, and in the case of a Saudi prince, that also includes his ego about his sizable fortune.

Saudi Arabia's Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is suing Forbes magazine for libel, claiming the publication's annual rich list underestimated his fortune by $9.6 billion, the U.K.'s Guardian reports.

It's an unusual twist in the history of the Forbes rankings, given that the uber-wealthy are more likely to want to live under the radar. But the feud blew up in March when Prince Alwaleed cried foul over the magazine's most recent rankings. Alwaleed is known for his bets on American companies, including Citigroup (C) and AOL (AOL). 

Back then, the prince accused Forbes of using a "flawed" valuation method that, he said, was biased against Middle Eastern investors. Forbes returned the volley with a scathing piece about Prince Alwaleed, claiming the value he placed on his holdings seemed like an "alternate reality."

Now the feud is heading to court. Prince Alwaleed has filed a defamation claim in London against Forbes' publisher, its editor and two of its journalists, The Guardian notes. 

In a response to the legal action, Forbes raised a question about the prince's decision to file suit in the U.K., given that the country "has nothing whatsoever to do with our recent story, which raised questions about his claims about his wealth." The publisher added that Forbes stands by it story. 

Legal experts said the prince may have a hard time proving his case. 

"While I accept that Forbes magazine is published in England and Wales both in hard copy and on the Internet, it is difficult to see why this is the most appropriate forum for the case other than its perceived pro-claimant reputation," Richard Green, a partner at the law firm of Hill Dickinson, told The Guardian. 

Prince Alwaleed will also need to prove that the Forbes list caused serious harm to his reputation and serious financial loss. 

For the rest of us, the prince's assertion that he's worth $30 billion -- as opposed to Forbes' estimate of $20 billion -- may elicit the sound of the world's smallest violin. 

Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi. 

More on moneyNOW

Jun 7, 2013 3:55PM
Forbes obviously failed to include the value of his ego.
Jun 7, 2013 3:50PM
I'll laugh mightily when the oil dries up and they're back to measuring wealth by the size of their goat/camel herds.
Jun 7, 2013 5:09PM
New Forbes list of world's douchiest people.
1) Justin Bieber
2) The Jersey Shore idiots
3) This colossal Saudi moron
4) Kanye West
5) The Kardashians

Jun 7, 2013 4:31PM

 May the fleas of a thousand camels find their way to his wives tent. 

Jun 7, 2013 4:21PM
His wealthy is the bulk of his worth as a person.  He has nothing else to offer but what he inherited. He's a sad little man.
Jun 7, 2013 4:31PM
Well then maybe the UN should talk to him about aid money for Syrian refugees. Sounds fair to me.
Jun 7, 2013 4:11PM

30 that in dollars or sheep?

Jun 7, 2013 4:36PM
He should buy forbes magazine and put himself on the cover so I can take a dump and wipe myself with it.
Jun 7, 2013 4:41PM
Jun 7, 2013 3:57PM
Prince of Thieves, Big time Ali-Baba !!!!!! Sue me too.
Jun 7, 2013 4:29PM
Jun 7, 2013 4:51PM
Now we know what really stupid rich people do with their money, sue someone for saying they have less. And when he's finished with filing his law suit, involving his lawyer's, he will have less and Forbes will be right. He might be richer, but he sure is dumb.
Jun 7, 2013 4:41PM
Look at me! I'm a petty little man with a vast fortune!
Jun 7, 2013 4:47PM
People like him are the reason I walk as much as possible.
Jun 7, 2013 4:47PM
Worlds smallest violin indeed.  I think he needs a wah-bulance for his bruised ego.
Jun 7, 2013 4:46PM

This Prince is Sofa King stupid. Waaa...bytch

Jun 7, 2013 5:02PM
Looks like table cloth on his head. Are we suppose to take people wearing table clothes on their head serious ? Tough Guy.
Jun 7, 2013 4:49PM

He is uglier than a mud fence post!!!

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