Philanthropy is a personal responsibility, says Alwaleed

Updated 02 July 2015

Philanthropy is a personal responsibility, says Alwaleed

RIYADH: “Philanthropy is a personal responsibility, which I embarked upon more than three decades ago and is an intrinsic part of my Islamic faith,” says Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, chairman of Kingdom Holding Company (KHC).
Prince Alwaleed made these remarks on Wednesday when he pledged his entire fortune to the tune of $32 billion to charitable projects.
While many of his philanthropic projects are already under way, the prince has confirmed the funds will be made available even after his death.
The prince said he will donate his fortune to his organization called Alwaleed Philanthropies to work in the fields of “intercultural understanding” and supporting communities in need.
Programs will include promoting health, eradicating disease, bringing electricity to remote villages, building orphanages and schools, as well as empowering women.
His pledge came during the holy month of Ramadan when Muslims are encouraged to give charity and help the needy.
Prince Alwaleed has supported philanthropy for more than 35 years, donating $3.5 billion thus far through the Alwaleed Philanthropies.
Prince Alwaleed joins other billionaires who have made similar pledges in recent years, such as Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Michael Bloomberg.
Prince Alwaleed has always had a good foresight, and the prince has routinely invested in promising companies such as Twitter.
At Wednesday’s press conference, he praised The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in the US and shared that his intentions and visions were “modeled” on the philanthropic organization spearheaded by Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda Gates.
“Since most of my wealth was achieved from this blessed country, I have made giving back to Saudi Arabia my number one priority, after which our philanthropic efforts will extend to countries around the world in accordance with the regulations governing charitable activities,” said the prince.
He said: “You may rightly wonder, why am I doing this? My response is that everyone goes through certain life-changing situations that have a great effect on his or her crucial future decisions. I have had the opportunity to witness, first hand, the challenging conditions of many communities across the globe, first hand, and have stood among those who were suffering and in great need. I have also learned of overwhelming obstacles through meetings with the leaders of countries and communities around the world.:
Prince Alwaleed said his foundations have been collaborating with other philanthropic organizations, NGOs, governments and non-profits for decades. Our work is far-reaching, providing humanitarian assistance to ease poverty and famine, supporting development, health and education, and encouraging long-term, sustainable change for the better.
He said: “Given the world’s current economic and social conditions, and the devastating effects of war and natural disasters around the world, more collaborative efforts are required from all capable individuals to unify their stand in the effort to alleviate poverty in the most deprived communities and to advance and build their societies.”
The prince said he was making the announcement as an illustration of God Almighty’s blessings, following His words in the Holy Qur’an: “But tell of the favors of your Lord,” (AlDhoha).
The prince added: “As I see it, the time has come for me to share all that I have to support communities through my foundation, Alwaleed Philanthropies, which aims to initiate and support projects worldwide regardless of religion, race or gender.”
He said: “For 35 years, Alwaleed Philanthropies have developed and sustained projects in more than 92 countries. We collaborate with a wide range of philanthropic, governmental and educational organizations to combat poverty, empower women and youth, to develop communities, provide disaster relief and to nurture cultural understanding through education. Together, we can build bridges for a more compassionate, tolerant and accepting world. Ours is a belief in humanity without boundaries and a commitment toward all.”


Julius Baer ordered to pay $162m over vanished East German cash

In this file photo taken on February 05, 2010 a man walks past the logo of the Swiss bank Julius Baer group at the headquarters in Zurich. (AFP)
Updated 2 min 34 sec ago

Julius Baer ordered to pay $162m over vanished East German cash

  • The Zurich-based bank has been fighting a long running legal battle against the payment, but Switzerland’s highest court has now given its final decision, ordering Julius Baer to pay 150 million francs

ZURICH: Swiss private bank Julius Baer could seek to recoup 150 million Swiss francs ($162 million) from UBS after it was ordered on Friday to repay the German government over millions in East German cash that vanished after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The German government has been seeking money that it says was illegally transferred out of East Germany when the communist regime collapsed.
At that time, large sums were moved from an East German foreign trade company to foreign banks, so the money could not be seized by a reunified Germany.
For more than 20 years the Federal Agency for Special Tasks (BvS) has been searching for the money which has since been withdrawn from the banks.
The agency has also been seeking to make banks involved liable for not preventing these withdrawals.
Julius Baer became involved due its acquisition of the former Swiss Bank Cantrade, which it picked up in 2005 when it bought Bank Ehinger & Armand von Ernst Ltd. from rival Swiss lender UBS.
The matter is related to unauthorized withdrawals between 1990 and 1992 from a Cantrade account of a foreign trade company established in East Germany, Julius Baer said on Friday.

BACKGROUND

German authorities have been trying to recover funds that were allegedly transferred out of East Germany illegally when the communist regime collapsed in 1990.

The Zurich-based bank has been fighting a long running legal battle against the payment, but Switzerland’s highest court has now given its final decision, ordering Julius Baer to pay 150 million francs.
BvS was not immediately available for comment on the decision.
The payment, which includes interest, is fully covered by a provision Julius Baer booked in December 2019, the Swiss bank said.
Julius Baer said it will notify UBS of the final ruling. It previously said it would pursue Switzerland’s biggest bank for payment under the warranties agreed when it acquired Bank Ehinger & Armand von Ernst from it. UBS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.