Some judge their fortunes based on how hard they’ve worked and the rewards they’ve received, and some judge their fortunes based on how the world views them. Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal is from the latter group. The prince is notoriously obsessed with how the world views him; his business and personal decision seem driven by an obsession to be viewed as powerful. In 2011 he invested $300 million in Twitter and in 2007 we heard that he owns a VIP A380 floating palace. Despite these past news stories, it Is shocking to hear about his obsession with his public image. Forbes recently released the 2013 list for the World’s richest People with the Saudi Prince getting 26th place, with an estimated net worth of $20 billion. While for most laymen, even a position on the list would make us ecstatic, the prince was extremely unhappy with his lowly ranking. He is now accusing Forbes of grossly undervaluing his fortune and not taking into account valuations on the Saudi Arabian Stock Exchange, Tadawul.
The list saw Mexican telecom tycoon Carlos Slim retain the top slot with a net worth of $73 billion. According to Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal’s allegations, his net worth should actually be $29.6 billion, which would have put him in the top 10, replacing LVMH chairman. Forbes responded to these allegations with some of their own, saying, “Of the 1,426 billionaires on our list, not one – not even the vainglorious Donald Trump – goes to greater measure to try to affect his or her ranking.”
Forbes hit back some might say overly harshly in a scathing article that hits on the many different ways that Bin Talal has tried to influence the media’s image of him, including the extensive use of Photoshop and a leather-bound satchel filled with false news stories. Needless to say, the prince and the magazine have severed ties.