Saudi Billionaire to Wall Street: See You Later

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Franco Pagetti / VII for TIME

Saudi billionaire Prince Al-Walid bin Talal bin Abdulaziz al-Saud.

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TIME: Would you buy now?

Alwaleed: No, I think we have enough involvement, with Citibank, in the financial services arena.

TIME: No more banks for you, then?

Alwaleed: No, I'm involved with Citibank. Legally I can't go beyond 5%. Right now, we're at 4.9%, and I think that's enough.

TIME: More recently your interest seems to have moved away from the U.S.

Alwaleed: We have a big exposure to the world economy in general — in banking, hotels, in real estate. But right now, there's a lot of emphasis on Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is experiencing a big boom. There's a lot of emphasis on real estate, and on companies in Saudi Arabia.

TIME: What do you expect will be the knock-on effect on Saudi Arabia of the banking crisis and the overall economic downturn in the U.S.?

Alwaleed: The world's now a very connected place, so things like the cost of funds, the scarcity of debt — these will impact some of our projects in Saudi Arabia. There's nothing called immunity: you can't be immune to what's happening around the world. But I would say we're less impacted directly than countries in the vicinity of the U.S.

We have a lot of tail winds here, remember — the price of oil, and an economy that's on very solid ground. These can help to mitigate some of the issues that we may be having from the impact of the real-estate collapse in the U.S.

TIME: How has your personal net worth, your personal fortune been affected by the way the stock markets have performed in the past six months?

Alwaleed: No doubt, we were impacted like anybody else. Most of my wealth is in Kingdom Holding, but I have outside assets that are not being publicly traded. Like my regional [Arabic] media companies, Rotana and LBC. And I have a lot of personal real estate outside Kingdom Holding. All in all, we're withstanding it well.

See photos of life and commerce in Saudi Arabia here.

The original version of this article misidentified Prince Alwaleed bin Talal as a cousin of Saudi King Abdullah. He is, in fact, a nephew of the King.

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