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Saudi Rich List
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Saudi Arabia's Top 50 Rich List
Saturday, 29 August 2009

As we all know, the Arab world is pretty reticent when it comes to discussing the private wealth of prominent families and individuals. By all means drive a fleet of $2m supercars, just don’t tell anyone how much you’ve got in the bank — or how you got it. And at the heart of this Arabic ‘omerta’ is Saudi Arabia: the Gulf’s biggest economy, but also its most opaque.

Still, there’s nothing like a challenge, and so we’ve spent four months trawling everything from stock listings and share disclosures to luxury yachting sites, compiling hard data on over 300 families and individuals.

The Arabian Business Saudi Rich List 2009 is the most comprehensive study of the finances of the Kingdom’s rich elite ever published.

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We’ve had people on the ground in Saudi doing just about everything but rooting through bins looking for receipts.

Cash holdings, property values, and individual assets have all been thrown into the mix. Got six Knightsbridge townhouses? You may have suffered in London’s real estate downturn, but you’re still worth a bit of money on today’s market. So your mega-yacht has a helipad (obviously), but also a sandy ‘beach’ that deploys on demand from its side wherever you are in the world? That’s worth a few dollars more.

We’ve had hiccups, too. The time a researcher elected to find out whether one company founder was still alive, by phoning his office direct and posing the question. Something was lost in translation; panic ensued when his long-suffering secretary got the wrong end of the stick and thought we were calling to inform them of his demise.

We know there will be omissions; we know that chances are we’ll have overshot a couple of the valuations: that’s what comes with the territory when you try to shine a light on one of the least open economies in the world.

What we can guarantee you is an unprecedented insight into the lives — and fortunes — of some of the richest men on earth. There are the big names (the arms dealer, the kidnap victim, the Bin Ladens) but there are also those who keep their fortunes close to their chest — the ‘Leader of Businessmen’ (it sounds better in Arabic), the ‘Sheikh of Gulf Tourism’, and one family firm that dates back to 1887.

We have deliberately not included royalty, with the exception of Prince Alwaleed, given that his wealth was achieved through his business dealings.

There will no doubt be a barrage of bouquets and brickbats now that this list has been published. But then that’s what happens when you lift the veil on a society otherwise unused to the glare of publicity: with a little candour, comes a lot of controversy.

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Comments (27)

To Chris from Ethiopia
Posted by Abdallah, Abu Dhabi, UAE on 19 September 2010 at 14:43 UAE time

Mohamad Al Amoudi is the second largest employer in Ethiopia after the government. He has more money than all of Ethiopia combined. Your statement that he became a billionaire because of the (undeniable) beauty of Ethiopia is completely biased and far fetched. He has done more for Ethiopia than Ethiopia can ever do for him.

I happen to have met him personally and he is quite hospitable and is close to being down to earth.
Your workers
Posted by kt, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia on 1 May 2010 at 10:54 UAE time

Your guest workers in Jadawel City in Khobar have not been paid for months, and you have not renewed their igamas. three need medical care and cannot leave due to expired residency permits. Is it good business to keep workers captive and unpaid like slaves?
1001 Inventions, Discover the Muslim Heritage in our World
Posted by kombizz on 11 February 2010 at 14:09 UAE time

I visited the Science Museum in London another day. I felt I had to say thank you to Mr Jameel for his lovely exhibition about Muslim Heritage. He did a great job to show the world about forgotten world of Islam, and it's civilization, culture and technology.
Keep working for the sake of Allah
richman of the global world
Posted by dr syed younus, manama, bahrain on 6 February 2010 at 13:03 UAE time

its very informative should be added in all educational books subject of economic development, if it happen then the world will have more brighter wealthy peoples in this universe
Saudi Success List
Posted by Abdul, Canada on 25 January 2010 at 21:42 UAE time

the list shows some good people who are well respected and liked by the people around the Gulf region and international wise!

The Muhaidib family for instance are a very charitable member of the Saudi society who gives and not only takes...

Great job by our people and may his grace our king keep these people to serve the country best!!
Riches Leader in the Muslim Region
Posted by Mohammad Alamgir, Dhaka, Bangladesh on 20 December 2009 at 15:44 UAE time

Welcome and compliments to the respective riches person to co-operate for developing of the Muslim People's in brotherhood countries. And expecting to receive some valuable words for our guidance.
Posted by Shahid on 20 December 2009 at 11:56 UAE time

I am very happy to know that most of the wealthiest people in the world are from Gulf region and i pray almighty Allah to increase their wealth and happiness.....

May this day bring lot of wealth with perfect health and u always be happy n peaceful…….

Happiness always looks small,

When we hold it in our hands………..

But when we learn to share it,

We realize how big and precious it is………

Have a nice day!!!!!!!!

May God Bless u!!!!!!!

Posted by Nasir, singapore, Singapore on 17 October 2009 at 13:20 UAE time

'The man was born and raised in Ethiopia' i think Chris needs to get his facts right :) bcos Ethiopia doesnt make Al Amoudi into billionaire! Let alone millionaire :)
MBI Al Jaber
Posted by Ronnie, LOndon, UK on 22 September 2009 at 14:16 UAE time

Way off the mark - you really have to do your homework better as corporatioinssuch as MBI are not very transparent and the so called profitable operations of Ajwa in SAudi are not operating in their core activities of rice and oil for many years with employees not being paid for months. Ask them instead of publishing anything said . As for the European real estates and hotels are you seriously saying that MBI with a leveraged portfolio did not suffer from the downturn ? The Gosaibi and Maan al sanei fiasco is a reminder to take what these self lauded billionaires say with a pinch of salt . JUst revisit what you said about al Sanai Saad GRoup yourselves.Your magazine's credibility is at stake here .
add to the list
Posted by ali, riyadh, saudi arabia on 14 September 2009 at 18:42 UAE time

what about "Omar Kasem Alesayi 's family
Saudi Rich List
Posted by barrett hays, san antonio, USA on 13 September 2009 at 19:19 UAE time

The list as compiled is very accurate. The individual and families that make up the list are well known and respected in the West. It is a source of pride that so many people have turned resourcefulness, hardwork, generosity and character into sizeable fortunes. This is wonderful, and well deserved. May the exploits of these individuals and families continue for one hundred thousand years!
What is rich
Posted by Nazeem, Jubail, Saudi Arabia on 10 September 2009 at 12:21 UAE time

Rich is not only having money, but there should be also included, civilization, wisdom, hospitality, etc
But How many the Top 100 of the world
Posted by Kishore Abid Abdulla, Chennai, India on 8 September 2009 at 15:11 UAE time

i See that lot of saudi guys in the rich list.But except for Prince talal I dont see anybody in the worlds 25 richest men, why is that.Even a poor country like India has 7-8 people in the Top 25.Does that mean even if you have lot of resources and people who have control over those resources making a lot of money, still they are not as reach as the self made people from India, Asia or America
Posted by Ilyas G on 4 September 2009 at 13:04 UAE time

One thing is for sure. There is enough money in the country and wealth belonging to the country for every saudi to be well off, educated, free health care and housing plus a fat pension, and generally happy. I have not been there, is this the case ? are the people happy ?
Qeustionable list!
Posted by Hamad Alwashmi, Riyadh, Saudi on 2 September 2009 at 17:15 UAE time

as far as I know, there are many rich people in Saudi who do not like to disclose their wealth to media and/or they don't give exact numbers about it. very famous names and families are excluded from this list, where is Aljeraisi, Abdulaziz Alothaim, Alsaif family, and the list goes on and on
Moreover, I'm not sure weather the calculation of the assets is based on the current market price or not? as we all know some people such as Saleh Alrajhi have increased their wealth significantly though real estate. for example, Alrajhi has one piece of land that is worth more than $500 million nowadays and who knows how much he paid for it!
if we add the total and have collected ZAKAT2.5%
Posted by صالح بن حنيتم الغامدي, Dhahran, KSA on 2 September 2009 at 11:17 UAE time

Just imagine if all these billons was added and 2.5% out of it were given to needy people, poor people etc, do you think we will still find poor people around us?
'The man was born and raised in Ethiopia.
Posted by christian on 2 September 2009 at 01:07 UAE time

Al Amoudi become a man that he is today becouse of Ethiopia, He has done a lot of things which are good for the country and also whhic is not good, however this man has become a billionair becouse of the most beautyful country in the world ETHIOPIA.

God bless Ethiopia,

Thanks Alhamudin
Posted by Elias, London, UK on 1 September 2009 at 13:14 UAE time

The man is a God sent messenger to change the shattered image of his motherland as a land of man made famine, and he is working hard on that. He has done so much for ethiopia and he will continue to do so regardless of what every hater says. god bless him.
Mr. Maan Sanea
Posted by Michael on 31 August 2009 at 21:14 UAE time

Nothing much surprising about the list....othe then ...I wonder WHY MR. MAAN SANEA IS NOT IN THE LIST AND its automatically taken off the list just cos of some financial issues which most of the 50 on the list are having....i mentioned that why Mr. MAAN SANEA CHAIRMAN Of SAAD GROUP is not on the list!!!!!!!! on what "" FACTS" and bases SAAD GROUP IS NOT ON THE LIST~~~~Thats a example on how unprofessional such list is .... and as u see no exact statistics are shown nor baseline of how things are calculated.
Saudi rich list
Posted by Jens Cramer, Naples, Florida, USA on 31 August 2009 at 18:01 UAE time

At least it seems so that this work is well done. Congratulation. It give us a glimpse into these market.
The list is utter nonsense! Figures are MUCH higher in many cases!
Posted by Kiram Tuyedahanet, Tehran, Iran on 31 August 2009 at 15:01 UAE time

This list isn't worth the paper it's printed on!
The Jufalis, e.g., are worth at least 12 Bilion, currently and many others, such as the Radjhis are not too far off....
rich list
Posted by w.loarch, detroit, usa on 31 August 2009 at 11:57 UAE time

Mohammad Al Ali Al Abdullatif has only $ 374. 567 !!!!!

And you forgot Said Ali Al Yumani with 324. 4567 Billion and 55 Cent!
Information accurecy
Posted by Warda, Alkhobar, Saudi Arabia on 31 August 2009 at 10:40 UAE time

ArabianBusiness refer in the Saleh Al Rajhi section to Forbes Magazine that Saleh "owns one of the largest poultry processing plants in Middle East "!!! If ArabianBusiness did their due delegence to calculate the wealth of Saleh Al Rajhi, they would have found that this Poultry farm is not for him but for his brother Sulaiman!!
How much real effort was done by ArabianBusiness to get the real wealth of those people when they do not know if it is Saleh or Sulaiman that owns the largest poultry farm!!!!!!!????????
There are more
Posted by aslam, Dubai, UAE on 31 August 2009 at 09:12 UAE time

Its seems these 50's are too small from the stars in the sky!
There are lot more standing behind. To reach such height they must have definately worked hard in the extreme weathers and have choose straight way to come up.
Great Stuff
Posted by Sridhar Kadambi, Mississauga, Canada on 31 August 2009 at 02:33 UAE time

It is nice to see this list after such an extensive exercise that Arabian Business has conducted with regard to research and investigation. As a person who has lived in Saudi Arabia for 10 years and (actually) enjoyed every bit of it, and also in UAE for 5 years, I love to keep in touch with what is going on in that part of the world, and you guys seem to be really doing a great job at that! Keep up the good work, guys, and GBU!
The changes
Posted by Mamdooh Al-Radadi, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on 30 August 2009 at 17:25 UAE time

It's always intriguing and uplifting to see the end results of a hard years work on your list.

The list is starting to take a new shape in terms of who is on it and what he has got in it! We were used to see certain names and eventually got bored, now we see some new ones entering slowly yet steadily from below, some of the wealth( in billions) was swept away after the last world crisis, but these people know what they are doing and continue to battle for their mark.
Prince Alwaleed in my opinion will be there for many years to come due to his vast investment wallet which is spread over many sectors, giving him adequate momentum and serving at the same time as a soft cushion in down time.

Great to see and know, as i said before this is a great way to dream bigger than your average dreams, keep up the good work.
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