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AlWaleed, Forbes settle dispute

|TAP Special| Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Forbes have settled Alwaleed’s libel suit against the Forbes and two writers on mutually agreeable terms, it was announced.

Given the opening of the Saudi stock exchange to foreign investors beginning in June 2015, Forbes and the other defendants are currently comfortable with using the stock price of Alwaleed’s publicly traded investment firm, Kingdom Holding Company, in valuing the KHC component of Alwaleed’s wealth, an announcement said.

Forbes won a key ruling in the UK libel suit filed against the magazine by Alwaleed, a member of the Saudi royal family, last November. At issue was the meaning of a series of articles published by Forbes in connection with its 2013 Billionaires list. The Prince claimed that the magazine accused him of manipulating his company’s share price to inflate his net worth and raise his ranking on the Forbes list.

The court rejected that claim, finding the articles merely detailed the magazine’s strong grounds for suspecting that the Prince had sought to mislead readers of its list by inflating Kingdom Holding’s share price, and thereby his net worth, by billions of dollars.   The court also dismissed the Prince’s company, Kingdom Holding, as a plaintiff in the case.

The ruling, which lessens the seriousness of the defamation claim, was considered a major setback for the Prince. Forbes stood by the articles and vigorously defended the suit, which now stands settled between two sides.