Saturday, March 9, 2013

On putrid Saudi billionaires and their slimy grip on anything and everything

The boss of FoxNews and the boss of God alone knows how many other media companies, oil companies, computer companies and the holder of thousands of souls in his satanic grip.  Check out what one of his wives says about encouraging him to frolic around with other beautiful women.  Ugh!!
I wonder how many gold chains the producer of the first video was given.  Ugh !!

Kerry A. Dolan writing at Forbes   (you have to read her entire article ... it's delicious)  
Any reporter who shows an interest  in Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal of Saudi Arabia can expect at some point to get a little gift from His Royal Highness. A driver will courier over a thick, tall green leather satchel, embossed with the oasis palm logo and name of Alwaleed’s Kingdom Holding Co., weighing at least 10 pounds. Like Russian nesting dolls, the green leather satchel reveals a green leather-bound sleeve, which in turn encases a green leather-bound annual report. About the only thing not shrouded in leather are thin versions of a dozen of the best-known magazines in the world, each boasting the prince on its cover.

These magazines are the most telling items within the prince’s big-bucks information dump. Fronting Vanity Fair, he strikes a jet-set pose, complete with reflective sunglasses, a powder-blue sports coat and an open-collar shirt. He’s on two Time 100 covers, once in a collage with the likes of George Soros, Li Ka-shing and Queen Rania, and a second solo, donning the classic Saudi thobe and ghutra. There’s even a FORBES, from which he stares out powerfully, in a Steve Jobs black turtleneck, above the text “The world’s shrewdest businessman.” But the most instructive piece of information is consistent across them all: None are real magazines. Rather than simply send out press clippings, the prince’s staff has concocted or rejiggered magazine covers, which they bind atop article mentions on beautiful high-gloss paper...........

.....But for the past few years former Alwaleed executives have been telling me that the prince, while indeed one of the richest men in the world, systematically exaggerates his net worth by several billion dollars. This led FORBES to a deeper examination of his wealth, and a stark conclusion: The value that the prince puts on his holdings at times feels like an alternate reality, including his publicly traded Kingdom Holding, which rises and falls based on factors that, coincidentally, seem more tied to the FORBES billionaires list than fundamentals.

Alwaleed, 58, wouldn’t speak with FORBES for this article, but his CFO, Shadi Sanbar, was vociferous: “I never knew that FORBES was a magazine of sensational dirt-digging and rumor-filled stories.” Our discrepancy over his net worth says a lot about the prince, and the process of divining someone’s true wealth.........

........Concerns about the divide between the price and the underlying assets were also raised by Kingdom’s auditor, Ernst & Young. In 2009 and 2010 it signed off on the company’s books but noted in both years a large difference between the market and holding value of the stock. It was such a large difference, the auditor noted, that the prince injected 180 million personal shares of Citi, worth $600 million, at no cost to Kingdom, simply to reduce pressure to mark down assets. In other words, the prince was moving assets he owned privately 100% into a public vehicle he owns only 95% for no consideration, in order to prop up the books, and presumably the stock. What did Ernst & Young have to say in 2011? Nothing. As of March of that year, it was gone, replaced by PricewaterhouseCoopers at the annual meeting..........

...........A WEEK before FORBES finished its tabulations, the prince directly charged his CFO with making sure the 2013 FORBES listing would be to his liking: specifically $29.6 billion, which would return him to the top ten position he has craved. The direct order to Sanbar, according to someone outside the company who is privy to the prince’s thinking and specific language on this matter, was to get “nasty.”

What followed were four detailed letters from Sanbar attacking our reporters and our methodology for unfairly singling out the prince for scrutiny. “Why does Forbes apply different standards to different billionaires, does that depend on national origin?” Sanbar wondered...........

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