Forbes keeps Saudis off billionaires list after corruption purge

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. [Photo credit: Arabian Business]

Forbes magazine said on Thursday it was excluding all Saudi Arabian tycoons from its annual list of the world’s richest people after dozens of top businessmen from the oil-rich-kingdom were detained in a crackdown on corruption last year.

Most detainees were released after reaching settlements with the authorities, who say they arranged to seize more than 100 billion dollars in assets through such deals.

But the government has provided few details about who was netted in the sweep, what they were accused of and how much they gave up.

Forbes said earlier in the week that it was “impossible to know definitively who gave how much to whom and when”.

The magazine said it had removed the 10 Saudi billionaires who made the cut last year, including those detained in the crackdown like Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.

Talal is said to be with wealth previously valued at 18.7 billion dollars and Mohammed al-Amoudi, whose treasure stood at 8.1 billion dollars.

“With greater clarity regarding their wealth, some might eventually return to the ranking,” Forbes said.

The magazine’s Middle East edition said in a separate statement on Thursday that the wealth of Saudi billionaires was believed to have increased from 42.1 billion dollars last year.

It was so, due to the rise in oil prices and capital markets globally but would be excluded due to the reported asset seizures.

Alwaleed, who told reporters in an interview hours before his release in January that he did not expect to give up any assets to the government, sued Forbes in 2013, alleging the magazine had under-valued his wealth.

The magazine listed 2,208 billionaires worldwide in 2018, up from 2,043 in 2017. (Reuters/NAN)


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