Profile: Prince Al Waleed Bin Talal Bin Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud


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The Independent Online

That’s a mouthful, what do his friends call him?

No idea. He has been called the “Arabian Warren Buffett” but that’s mostly by US business magazines and down to the Saudi Prince’s breath-taking wealth. As founder, CEO and majority stakeholder in the Kingdom Holding Company, he was this year named as the 26th richest man in the world with an estimated worth of $20bn (£13bn).

He’s richer than Croesus, what’s his problem?

He is being sued by a Jordanian businesswoman for allegedly not paying her £6.5m commission for securing the sale of a private plane to Colonel Gaddafi. We’ve all been there.

So he’s an airline owner?

No, but he owns enough private jets to give Ryanair a run for their money. The deal with the late Libyan tyrant in 2001 was to sell just one of his planes. He has many more, including a custom fitted Airbus A380 - the world’s biggest. It reportedly includes a concert hall seating 10 and a full-size steamroom. Its “wellbeing Room” apparently has a floor on which is projected an enormous image of what the plane is flying over.

It’s alright for some. Counts the pennies does he?

Yes. “Your lordship, each dollar is important to me,” he told a judge yesterday. He claims to be a self-made investor, but the Saudi royal family is hardly nouveau riche.

After a brief and fairly anonymous stay at Syracuse University in the US, the Prince bought into a series of banks, then the odd tech company and most recently property.  Oliver Duggan