Saudi Prince Alwaleed donates billion-dollar fortune to charity: 5 things about the man

The billionaire prince is No. 34 on the Forbes list of the world's richest people.
The billionaire prince is No. 34 on the Forbes list of the world's richest people. PHOTO: AFP

Saudi Arabian billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal said on Wednesday (July 1) he will donate his entire fortune, worth US$32 billion (S$43 billion), to charity.

The 60-year-old nephew of the late King Abdullah is No. 34 on the Forbes list of the world's richest people.

Here are 5 things about the business magnate.

1. He is the chairman of Kingdom Holding.

Investment firm Kingdom Holding - five per cent of which is listed on the Saudi stock Exchange - owns stakes in Citigroup, Twitter, Apple, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, Movenpick Hotels & Resorts and Fairmont Raffles Holding as well as hotel real estates such as Hotel George V in Paris, France and a stake in the Savoy Hotel in London, England. Prince Alwaleed also owns extensive stretches of Saudi real estate and other assets.

2. He is officially separated from Princess Ameerah Al-Taweel.

Princess Ameera, 31, was his fourth wife whom he married after dating for nine months in 2008. He met her when she was 18 and she interviewed him for her school paper. They later divorced in 2013. But the prince said she remains a person whom he respects.

3. He sees himself as an employee.


Prince Alwaleed bin Talal's daughter, Princess Reem. PHOTO: AFP

The Saudi prince considers himself an employee of Kingdom Holding. He takes scheduled vacations such as Muslim fasting month of Ramadan and Haj holidays. His official vacation is in summer and it extends to a month, in addition to one week of break during winter. Like a regular worker, he spends winter break with his family - his son Prince Khaled, 36, daughter Princess Reem, 33, from his first marriage, and five grandchildren.

4. He once pimped up an Airbus A380 with a Turkish bath and garage.

 

Alwaleed bought an Airbus A380, the same model used by Singapore Airlines, for US$487 million (S$656.8 million) in 2007. He refurbished the 800-seater plane to include a marble-finished Turkish bath, a garage for his Rolls Royce and a 14-seater dining room - complete with gold-rimmed table and leather reclining chairs.

There is also a prayer room with computer-generated mats which point in the correct direction to Mecca for prayers. In 2012, he sold the monster plane for an undisclosed amount. He then invested the proceeds to expand his investments in Saudi Arabia and the greater Middle East.

Among his other luxurious forms of transport is a 280-foot-long superyacht, New Kingdom 5KR, formerly owned by American real estate tycoon Donald Trump. The boat was once featured in a James Bond film and is equipped with a disco, cinema, helipad, swimming pool and guest rooms.

5. He has 3.35 million followers on Twitter.

Alwaleed tweets rarely and with extreme caution. Since he started his account in March 2013, he has tweeted only 164 times. He writes his tweets which are then reviewed by a committee which then posts the tweets at a suitable time.

SOURCES: BBC, Bloomberg, Business Insider, Forbes, Saudi Gazette, DailyMail UK