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Saudi prince sues Forbes in libel claim

Saudi prince sues Forbes in libel claim

Saudi Arabian billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has launched legal action against Forbes magazine for libel.

The 58-year-old royal alleges the publication's valuation of his wealth was $9.6 billion (£6.2 billion) less than its actual level.

While the magazine's rich list said the prince had a wealth of $20 billion - Alwaleed claims the amount is closer to $30 billion - arguing that the mistake has caused him embarrassment and demonstrates bias, according to the Guardian.

In response to this, the grandson of the Saudi kingdom's founder has filed a defamation claim against Forbes' publisher, its editor and two individual journalists, according to court documents seen by the newspaper.

Forbes argues that it calculated the prince's fortune based on the value of his Kingdom Holding's investment company, which has large stakes in Twitter, News International and Apple.

The magazine also said it had received a series of threats and lobbying efforts from Alwaleed's entourage - who were trying to get his rich list ranking higher than other rivals.

In a statement, Forbes said: "We're very surprised at claims that Prince Alwaleed has decided to sue Forbes, particularly if he has done so in the United Kingdom, a jurisdiction that has nothing whatsoever to do with our recent story which raised questions about his claims about his wealth.

"[This is] the kind of libel tourism that the UK's recently-passed libel reform law is intended to thwart. Forbes stands by its story."

Alwaleed has so far refused to comment on whether he has launched legal action or not, but a spokesperson for his holdings company said the prince was examining his options.

The prince is famous for his luxurious lifestyle. He has a gold throne that reportedly sits right in the middle of his privately owned Boeing 747 jet - although the royal is known to be a relatively private person compared to other gulf jet-setters.

Posted by Francesca Witney

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