Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed, Forbes settle libel case

The Prince and Forbes have been embroiled in a dispute ever since the magazine’s annual billionaires list was published in 2013

Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal has settled a libel suit against Forbes and two of its writers on “mutually agreeable terms”, the two parties jointly announced on Tuesday.

The Prince and US-based Forbes have been embroiled in a dispute ever since the magazine’s annual billionaires list in 2013 estimated his net worth at $20bn, $9.6bn less than Alwaleed claimed.

The joint statement said: “Given the opening of the Saudi stock exchange to foreign investors beginning in June 2015, Forbes and the other defendants are currently comfortable with using the stock price of Prince Alwaleed’s publicly traded investment firm, Kingdom Holding Company, in valuing the KHC component of Prince Alwaleed’s wealth.”

The Prince and KHC first sued Forbes for libel in a British court in June 2013. He said the magazine accused him of manipulating his company’s share price to inflate his net worth and ranking on the Forbes list.

In November 2014, both the parties claimed that they had won the case.

Forbes has won a key ruling in the UK libel suit filed against the magazine by Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal,” it said in a story posted on its website. “According to the judge, the articles did not conclude the Prince was dishonest but merely conveyed “strong grounds for suspecting” that he had been dishonest.”

However in a contradictory statement, KHC said that the court confirmed that the Forbes articles made defamatory accusations.

“The Prince has consistently maintained that Forbes defamed him by falsely accusing him of defaulting on important contractual obligations, dishonestly manipulating the share price of Kingdom Holding Company, and firing KHC’s auditor because it raised concerns that KHC’s value was over-estimated,” the company added.

The Prince is currently ranked as the world’s 34th richest person on Forbes‘ website, with a net worth of $22.6bn.