Ahmed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
|Ahmed bin Salman|
|Spouse||Lamia bint Mishaal bin Saud bin Abdulaziz Al Saud|
|House||House of Saud|
|Father||Salman bin Abdulaziz|
|Mother||Sultana bint Turki al Sudairi|
|Born||17 November 1958
|Died||22 July 2002
|Burial||23 July 2002
Al Oud cemetery, Riyadh
Prince Ahmed was born in Riyadh on 17 November 1958. He was the third eldest son of Salman bin Abdulaziz and Sultana bin Turki Al Sudairi. His father Prince Salman is the Minister of Defence since November 2011 and Crown Prince since June 2012. His mother, Sultana Al Sudairi, died in July 2011. She was a daughter of Prince Salman's uncle, Turki bin Ahmad al Sudairi, who was one of the former governors of Asir Province. Ahmed bin Salman is full brother of Prince Fahd, Prince Sultan, Prince Abdulaziz, Prince Faisal and Princess Hussa.
Later, Ahmed bin Salman continued his studies in the US and attended University of California, Irvine. He studied comparative culture and graduated from the university in the early 1980s.
In Saudi Arabia, Ahmed bin Salman joined armed forces before dealing with business. After leaving armed forces, in 1985, he established ASAS, a company which specialized in maintenance and contracting. He became chairman of Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG) in 1989, a media company with offices in Riyadh and Jeddah as well as in London and Washington D.C. Prince Ahmed also bought 80% of the daily, Asharq Al Awsat, which is a publication of the SRMG.
SRMG is reported to be the largest media company in the Middle East. However, the business was worth $90 million when Prince Ahmed took over the company. Its assets were worth nearly $533 million at the period when he died. After his death, his full brother Prince Faisal became the chairman of SRMG.
Involvement in horse racing
Ahmed bin Salman began horseracing activity with his college friend Richard Mulhall as his horse trainer and eventually his manager of racing operations. Firstly, he bought a gray stallion named Jumping Hill. Then, Prince Ahmed began racing under the name Universal Stable until 1994. Later, he created the Thoroughbred Corporation and became the principal partner of this company. In 1999, Ahmed bin Salman won the Epsom Derby with Oath. He also won the Preakness and Belmont Stakes with 2001 horse of the year, Point Given. He also achieved another dream by winning the Kentucky Derby with War Emblem in May 2002, making him the first Arab horse owner to win this race. War Emblem was sold to Prince Ahmed just three weeks before the race after the horse won the Illinois Derby. The price of the horse was $ 900.000. Prince Faisal, his brother, succeeded him as the head of the Thoroughbred Corporation after his death in 2002.
Ahmed bin Salman also owned Spain, horse racing's all-time female money-winner. He is one of only four men to have raced both a Kentucky Derby winner and an Epsom Derby winner. The others are John W. Galbreath, Michael Tabor, and Paul Mellon.
Ahmed bin Salman was appointed Secretary-General of the Prince Fahd bin Salman Charitable Association for Kidney Patients and a member of the charity’s board of directors after the death of his elder brother Fahd bin Salman in 2001.
Prince Ahmed is survived by his wife, Lamia bint Mishaal, daughter of Mishaal bin Saud. He had four daughters and a son. His family owns three percent of Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG), reportedly the largest media company in the Middle East.
Death and funeral
Ahmed bin Salman died of heart failure at age 43 in Riyadh on 22 July 2002. He was buried in Al Oud cemetery on 23 July 2002 after funeral prayers at the Imam Turki bin Abdullah mosque in Riyadh. His cousin, Sultan bin Faisal bin Turki bin Abdullah, brother of Abdullah bin Faisal, who had been killed in a car crash while coming to Riyadh to participate in funeral prayers for Prince Ahmed, was also buried with him in Al Oud cemetery in Riyadh.
Alleged involvement in 9/11 attacks
In Why America Slept (2003), Gerald Posner claimed that Ahmed bin Salman had had ties to al-Qaeda and had advance knowledge of the September 11, 2001 attacks. The story was strongly denied by his family pointing out that he in fact loved America, spent a great deal of time at his home there in Bradbury, and invested heavily in the American horse racing industry. His friends in American racing stated their knowledge of him and his attitudes made it impossible to believe the allegations.
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