Thursday, January 22, 2015

Saudis make 'Rich List,' no one is surprised

Forbes logo blogging Dhahran Saudi Arabia
Forbes recently published its billionaires list and as usual, quite a few Saudis made the cut. Of course leading this list of rich old men is self made man Prince Al Waleed bin Talal al Saud at #35.
You've heard of him before, he made it to Time's 100 Most Influential People in 2008, He started off wealthy, being a member of the royal family, and he became richer through his investments. He's behind Kingdom Holding Company which owns both private and public companies in Europe, the US, and the Middle East. He's married to Princess Ameera Al Talweel, who's 17 years his junior. And he sued Forbes for libel for not making him look cool back in 2013. Oh and he's worth $21 billion. No biggie.

Robert Downey Jr. Tony Stark Forbes Rich List Saudi Arabia blog
Who he tries to doesn't look like: Tony Stark. Tumblr
Al Waleed bin Talal al Saud Forbes rich list Saudi Arabia blogging
Who he looks like: an Arab Bono.

The next richest Saudi is Mohammed Al Amoudi, at #86. He's worth $12.6 billion and made his fortune from construction, agriculture, and energy companies. His story really is quite interesting. He was born to an Ethiopian mother and Saudi father and lived in Ethiopia until he was 19 and moved to Saudi. He probably struggled with racism and with fitting in as an outsider and he certainly didn't have the family connections that Prince Al Waleed does, but he became rich through construction projects in the kingdom. And he didn't forget where he came from either! He is the single biggest investor in Ethiopia and is helping in the construction of Africa's largest observatory there. He also donates funds to fighting AIDS in Africa and to the Clinton Health Initiative. He may not be a genius playboy, but he certainly is a billionaire philanthropist.

Mohammed al Amoudi Saudi Arabia Rich List Forbes blogging
OK never mind about the playboy thing. Arabian Business
Mohammed al Amoudi Saudi Arabia Forbes Rich List blogging

The last Saudi on the list is Sulaiman al Rajhi and family at #940. He like most of the men on the list, is a self made man with his $1.9 billion fortune coming from banking. In fact he transferred his nearly 20% stake in Al Rajhi Bank to an an endowment with the same name, three years after announcing that he was giving away most of his wealth to charity. He's 95 and has 23 children so I guess he wants to spite them for being ungrateful ingrates? No just kidding, he set aside money for them.

Sulaiman al Rajhi Saudi Arabia Forbes Rich List Blogging

His brother Abdullah Al Rajhi whom he started his family bank with, comes in at #866 with $2.1 billion. Other Saudis on the list include Prince Sultan bin Mohammed bin Saud al Kabeer, whose real time net worth is $3.9 billion which puts him at #410, with Mohammed Al Issa coming in next with his $3.4 billion fortune at #497 and Saleh Kamel rounding out the group at #616 with his $2.8 billion.  

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