Babylon & Beyond

Observations from Iraq, Iran,
Israel, the Arab world and beyond

« Previous Post | Babylon & Beyond Home | Next Post »

SAUDI ARABIA: The rich poorer but still loaded

December 14, 2008 |  9:11 am

Richlist08_thumb It’s been a tough year for princes, kings and money men. The Arabian Business magazine reports that the world's 50 richest Arabs have lost $25 billion in the global financial crisis.

“What is most striking this year — for the first time ever — is the reduction in the wealth of some of the super-rich,” writes Anil Bhoyrul in the magazine’s annual Rich List edition. “To make it big in our list this year, the question was not how much money you made — but how much money you lost. Most of our top ten [have] suffered considerable losses, beginning at the very top.”

The very top would be Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who is reported to have lost about $4 billion, bringing his total worth down to just over $17 billion. That includes the prince’s “Flying Palace” Airbus A380, which is part of an overall personal “transportation portfolio” valued at $822 million.

Those sums remind this writer of a scene from Barry Levinson’s 1982 movie “Diner”: Two guys having a run of bad luck go for a drive in the country, where they glimpse a wealthy blond woman galloping on a horse in a fenced in estate. Very Burberry. They get out of their beat-up car and stand watching her in amazement. One of them turns to the other and says: “Do you ever get the feeling there’s something going on we don’t know about?”

— Jeffrey Fleishman in Cairo

The 50 Richest Arabs. Credit: ArabianBusiness.com 

P.S. Get news from the Middle East in your mailbox every day. The Los Angeles Times distributes a free daily newsletter with the latest headlines from the Middle East, including the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. You can subscribe by logging in at the website here, clicking on the box for "L.A. Times updates" and then clicking on the "World: Mideast" box.

Comments 

Advertisement