Saudi billionaire receives $520,000 in EU farm subsidies to breed horses


Greenpeace have branded the payments to billionaires 'an outrage'

Khalid Abdullah al-Saud has a large farm in the UK where he breeds horses (Youtube)
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Friday 30 September 2016 6:43 UTC

European taxpayers are coughing up the equivalent of $520,000 a year to subsidise a Saudi Arabian horse-breeding business, British media reported on Thursday.

According to reports, Khalid Abdullah al-Saud receives hundreds of thousands of dollars of EU agricultural subsidies for his farm in Newmarket.

The money is given through Juddmonte Limited Farms, and is among the top 100 recipients of EU farming subsidies in Britain.

A spokesman for Prince Khalid declined to comment when approached by the BBC.

The prince owns more than 250 thoroughbred horses valued at almost $400m, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

He is estimated to have a net worth of at least $1bn, which includes holdings in a Saudi television channel.

The British government has said it will honour all current EU subsidies once the country leaves the bloc - but has not outlined how it will pay for them.

EU farm grants are also paid to estates owned by the Queen, the Duke of Westminster, the National Trust and the RSPB, leading to heavy criticism that EU subsides were being “squandered” on the wealthy.

The Queen of England unveils a bronze statue of a-Saud's race-winning horse Frankel at Ascot (AA)

Frank Smart, who owns vast tracts of land in Scotland and is believed to be largest beneficiary of the funding, gets the equivalent of $3.9m a year. He has refused to comment on the issue publicly.

Greenpeace branded the payments to billionaires “an outrage”.

The organisation’s chief scientist said: “The subsidy system is utterly broken. We need public money spent on farming to be offering demonstrable public benefits.”

Buckingham Palace told the Independent: “Subsidies are open to all farmers, and are received on the Queen's private estate. We would not comment beyond the detail that is already in the public domain.”

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.