World’s 50 Richest Arabs Lose $25bn in 2008

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The world’s 50 richest Arabs have lost 12 percent of their combined fortune this year, as a result of the international economic crisis, the business portal Arabian Business revealed.

The Arabian Business 2008 Rich List, which was published today (Sunday), showed that the average fortune of the top 50 has slipped to $3.99bn. In total, the top 50 richest Arabs now hold $199.48bn, a drop of $25bn in comparison to December 2007.

This sharp decline came as a result of this year’s collapse in the value of property and banking shares, which according to Arabian Business make for the bedrock of Arab wealth.

Heading the rich list is Saudi Prince Al-Walid Bin Talal Bin ‘Abdul Al-‘Aziz Sa’ud, who lost nearly $4 billion this year. Prince Al-Walid’s fortune now stands at $17.08bn, nearly double the fortune held by Kuwait’s Nassir Al-Kharafi, who is ranked second on the rich list with $9.6bn. Al-Kharafi himself has reportedly lost over $2bn this year.

Among the 50 richest Arabs one can also find Sa’ad A-Din Al-Hariri, leader of the Future current in Lebanon and son of former Lebanese premier, Rafiq Al-Hariri, who was assassinated in 2005. Al-Hariri resides in Lebanon but holds dual citizenships – Lebanese and Saudi Arabian.

The fiftieth richest Arab in the world also comes from Saudi Arabia. Muhammad A-Rajhi’s fortune is estimated at $1.1bn. A-Rajhi and his brothers, who together hold approximately $20bn, own a bank, a holding company and various steel and real estate interests.

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