Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a nephew of the Saudi king, was ranked as the world’s 26th richest man by the
US publication, which estimated his worth to be around $ 20bn (£13bn).
Despite being pronounced the richest man in the Arab world, Prince Alwaleed accused Forbes of “intentional biases and inconsistencies” and insisted his real value was nearly $ 30bn.
His public complaints prompted Forbes to allege that the prince, who owns large stakes in Facebook, Apple and Twitter, “systematically exaggerates” his wealth in order to improve his standing on the rich list.
Forbes said that it had sought to establish his wealth based on the underlying value of his company’s investments rather than the price of its Riyadh-traded shares, because they would inexplicably rise each year just as Forbes was compiling its data.
“The value that the prince puts on his holdings at times feels like an alternate reality,” Kerry Dolan, a Forbes journalist, wrote yesterday.
“For the past few years, former Alwaleed executives have been telling me that the prince, while indeed one of the richest men in the world, systematically exaggerates his net worth by several billion dollars,” she added.
Forbes described the prince as hounding and pressuring the magazine to use his own $ 29.6bn figure, “which would return him to the top 10 position he has craved”.
The prince is continuing to co-operate with Bloomberg, whose rival rich list estimates his fortune at a more satisfactory $ 28bn.
Forbes‘s list ranked Carlos Slim, the Mexican telecommunications tycoon, as the world’s richest man with $ 73bn, edging out Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who placed second with $ 67bn.