Here's How Prince Alwaleed Spends His '$29.6 Billion' Fortune

Prince Alwaleed

Photo: AP Photo

It’s a classic he-said-she-said — except she is Forbes’ Senior Editor Kerry Dolan and he is Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, considered to be the richest man in Saudi Arabia and one of the richest people in the world.They’re fighting over how much the Saudi Arabian prince is worth.

Alwaleed believes the number is a $29.6 billion, while Forbes disagreed and placed him at number 26 on its annual billionaires list with a net worth estimate of $20 billion.

Regardless, Alwaleed is still rich beyond belief from his stake in his Kingdom Holding Company, his Saudi real estate investments, shares in Arab media companies, and investments in public and private companies globally, including Twitter.

Prince Alwaleed was born into Saudi royalty.

He is the son of Prince Talal and Mona Al Solh.

His maternal grandfather was the first prime minister of Lebanon and his paternal grandfather, King Abdulaziz, created Saudi Arabia.

He attended a California school for college.

It was while attending Menlo College in Atherton, California that he acquired what many believe to be a Western world outlook, making him the go-to Saudi investor for American businessmen.

He got his big break when he invested in a little company called Citicorp.

He received a $30,000 gift, a $300,000 loan, and a house from his father after graduating, and slowly began investing.

In 1991, when Alwaleed was 36, he made a high-stakes decision to invest in Citicorp, which made him $800 million. By 2005, that had turned into $10 billion.

He's married to the gorgeous Princess Ameerah.

Princess Ameerah is Alwaleed's fourth bride (and his only current wife -- Alwaleed is a one-wife-at-a-time kind of guy).

They've been married for eight years, and she is heavily involved in charity work.

He has met many of the richest and most impressive people on the planet.

Alwaleed makes a point of meeting and being seen with the world's royals, politicians, and celebrities.

He and his wife were guests at Kate Middleton and Prince William's royal wedding, and he's met the Queen of England, Prince Charles, Nicholas Sarkozy, Queen Rania of Jordan, Michael Jackson, and the former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair, among others.

He owns an estimated $700 million in jewelry.

When Forbes' Kerry Dolan visited with the Saudi Prince in 2009, he reportedly showed her part of his impressive jewelry collection that he claimed neither he nor his wife even used:

'The most spectacular set on display was a diamond and emerald necklace with three emeralds the size of sparrow eggs dangling from the centre, with earrings and a ring to match. With a combined total of 200 carats, the set is worth $40 million,' Dolan wrote.

He sleeps only four hours a night and loves CNBC.

The prince follows a bizarre schedule of going to bed at 4 or 5 am, and waking up at 9 am. He then eats one big meal a day at 8 pm which he calls 'lunch.'

The TV is constantly turned to CNBC while Alwaleed is eating or working, and the Saudi royal has even appeared as a guest on his favourite TV channel.

He's a women's rights advocate (sort of).

The prince takes pride in the fact that nearly 65 per cent of the staff at his palace and his investment company, Kingdom Holding, are women.

But he's been accused of doing it for publicity: For instance, Business Insider's Nicholas Carlson reports his female pilot Hanadi Zakariya Hindi has hardly flown any of Alwaleed's aircraft, and when she was hired, Alwaleed told his aviation staff that she never would.

He bought the third biggest yacht in the world for $500 million.

Alwaleed's old yacht, the New Kingdom 5KR Yacht, was 282 feet long, and appeared in the Bond movie 'Never Say Never Again.' The boat has a disco, cinema, helipad, pool, guest rooms, and more.

But Alwaleed commissioned a new yacht double the size at 557 feet, making it the third biggest yacht in the world. It's expected to be delivered in 2014 and will cost a reported $500 million.

He owns a lot of expensive cars, too.

His collection includes a Rolls Royce Phantom, which retails just under $500,000, a $48 million diamond-encrusted Mercedes Benz SL 600, and several other Lamborghinis and Ferraris.

He bought (and then sold) an Airbus 280 plane.

It was reportedly tricked out with three floors, a Turkish bath, a 'concert hall' with seating for 10, a boardroom with holographic projectors, and a garage for his Rolls Royce. The aircraft cost an estimated $500 million.

Alwaleed recently sold the plane to a private buyer for an undisclosed price, with proceeds going toward his investments in Saudi Arabia and the greater Middle East, according to his spokesperson.

But he still owns his Boeing 747.

Alwaleed owns a $220 million Boeing 747 with a throne, two bedrooms, and a 14-seat dining table with 11 flight attendants from around the world.

He lives in a 420-room palace in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Alwaleed's palace is made with high-quality marble and hung with large portraits and photographs of himself.

It also has two indoor pools and an outdoor tennis court.

He also owns a huge farm/resort on the outskirts of the city.

The Farm has over 120 acres, and has a miniature version of the Grand Canyon, a mini-zoo, horse stables, and five artificial lakes.

Alwaleed is a big game hunter.

He often goes on hunting expeditions, and shoots game that are typically illegal to hunt. His prized animal is a stuffed zebra that he killed with his daughter.

His palace is filled with the taxidermied animals that are put on display for guests to admire.

Business Insider's Nicholas Carlson reports: 'Almost every source we spoke to, including Alwaleed's official spokesperson, confirmed that, like a medieval monarch, Alwaleed keeps in his entourage a group of dancing, laughing, joking dwarfs.'

The sources continued that even though they were initially shocked, in Saudi culture it would be considered charity since the little people would most likely be out of work and considered 'freaks' in the country.

But it's not all about the toys: Alwaleed also donates heavily to charities.

It is common for Alwaleed to make donations to petitioners, as well as to numerous charities and causes through the Alwaleed Bin Talal Foundation (even if it might just be for publicity).

He has given to those affected by the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, as well as to universities like Harvard and Cambridge.

He's not the only prince doing well for himself.

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