Prince Alwaleed bin Talal said Wednesday that he plans to sue Forbes magazine for what he called its “deliberately insulting and inaccurate description of the business community in Saudi Arabia.”
Last week, the Saudi royal -- known for being pugnacious and one of the richest and most influential businessmen in the Middle East -- filed a claim in a London high court against Forbes for allegedly undervaluing his wealth by $9.6 billion. Forbes placed him 26th on its annual Richest People On The Planet list, where it judged his net worth to be approximately $20 billion.
But Alwaleed, speaking through a spokeswoman, said his suit against Forbes “is about correcting seriously defamatory comments that have been [made] about HRH Prince Alwaleed as an individual,” and about his company, Kingdom Holding Co. (HKG:0528). Alwaleed claimed the article insinuated that he manipulated the price of shares of Kingdom Holding.
Forbes has stuck to its story so far. Kerry A. Dolan, the 19-year Forbes veteran who calculated Alwaleed's wealth for the list, said in a blog post that she evaluated Alwaleed’s worth by the underlying value, not solely by the share prices.
“Forbes’ irrational and deeply flawed valuation methodology ... is ultimately subjective and discriminatory,” Maggie Simpson, a spokeswoman for Alwaleed, said in a statement. She also said that the article necessitates legal action. “Forbes’ deliberately insulting and inaccurate description of the business community in Saudi Arabia, and specifically, Forbes’ denigration of the Saudi stock exchange [Tadawul], which is one of the most regulated in the world.”
Mia Carbonell, a spokeswoman for Forbes, said the magazine has not yet been served with papers, despite news that a complaint filed last week.
"We continue to be bemused by Prince Alwaleed's ego-driven PR stunt," Carbonell said to International Business Times in an email. "Our story raises significant questions about his finances, and we would welcome the opportunity to uncover further relevant information during the course of any hypothetical suit."