Walid Juffali

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Walid Juffali
Walid Ahmed Juffali

30 April 1955
Died20 July 2016(2016-07-20) (aged 61)
Zurich, Switzerland
EducationLe Rosey
Alma materUniversity of San Diego
Imperial College London
Known forchairman of E. A. Juffali and Brothers
Net worth£4 billion (June 2015)[1]
Spouse(s)Basma Al-Sulaiman (1980–2000)
Christina Estrada (2001–14)
Loujain Adada (m. 2012)
ChildrenSix; three with Basma Al-Sulaiman, one with Christina Estrada and two with Loujain Adada
Parent(s)Ahmed Abdullah Juffali
Su’ad Juffali
RelativesKhaled Juffali (brother)
Ebrahim Juffali (brother)
Ali Juffali (brother)

Walid Ahmed Juffali (30 April 1955 – 20 July 2016) (Arabic: وليد أحمد الجفالي‎) was a Saudi billionaire heir and businessman. He was the chairman of E. A. Juffali and Brothers, one of Saudi Arabia's largest companies. His July 2016 divorce settlement of £75 million, shortly before his death from cancer, was the then largest such settlement in English legal history.

Early life and education[edit]

Juffali was born on 30 April 1955,[2] the son of Ahmed Abdullah Juffali (1924–1994),[3] the founder of E. A. Juffali and Brothers, one of Saudi Arabia's largest companies.[4] His younger brother is Khaled Juffali, and his sister is Maha Juffali.[5]

He received a bachelor's degree from the University of San Diego, California in 1977.[6][7] In 2012, he received a doctorate in neuroscience from Imperial College London.[8][9] His PhD thesis was entitled, "A Novel Algorithm for Detection and Prediction of Neural Anomalies", and his supervisor was Chris Toumazou.[10]


Juffali was the chairman of E. A. Juffali and Brothers,[8] a position he has held since at least 2005.[11]

In 2005, Juffali was also chairman of Saudi American Bank, deputy chairman of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Honorary Consul-General for Denmark.[11]

In December 2005, the Middle East Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) announced that Juffali would host its entrepreneurial reality show, The Investor, which would be shown early in 2006.[11] In her book Arab Television Today, Naomi Sakr, compared the show to The Apprentice, but noted that each of the 13 pairs of would-be entrepreneurs had to be from the same family, to reflect the "family aspect of business in the Arab world".[12]

Juffali also had a separate company, W Investments, a private wealth management company.[9] The CEO is Jamil El Imad, who is also managing director and chief scientist of his NeuroPro company.[13]

Legal immunity[edit]

On 9 November 2015, The Daily Telegraph reported that Juffali had gained legal immunity in the UK, having been appointed as St Lucia's "Permanent Representative" to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), which is headquartered in London.[8]

Two days later, St Lucia's Office of the Prime Minister issued a statement, confirming that Juffali was appointed to the role in April 2014, "that all necessary due diligence was done prior to the appointment", and it declined the request from his ex-wife's lawyers to "lift the diplomatic immunity of Dr. Juffali to compel Dr. Juffali to testify in the civil suit ... this is a civil matter in which it does not desire to get involved."[14]

On 26 December 2015, The Daily Telegraph reported that it understood that the British Foreign Office had intervened to ask St Lucia to waive Juffali's immunity, amid concerns that he was using it to protect his wealth from his ex-wife during divorce proceedings.[15]

On 21 January 2016, The Daily Telegraph reported that the High Court had ordered Philip Hammond, the British Foreign Secretary to certify whether Juffali had been formally accepted by the UK as a diplomat representing St Lucia, as his ex-wife's lawyer stated that Juffali had never attended an IMO meeting.[16] The judge lifted restrictions on reporting his ex-wife's claim that Juffali was seriously ill with cancer in a Swiss hospital since, if he were to die before the case is concluded, her claim would become irrelevant, and she and their daughter would receive no further monthly payments.[17]

In February 2016, the High Court dismissed Juffali's claim of diplomatic immunity as 'spurious'. Juffali appealed the judgment to the Court of Appeal, and was supported by an intervention from the Foreign Secretary.[18] The Court of Appeal overturned the High Court's dismissal of Juffali's immunity, but ruled that his immunity was not relevant to the divorce claim, which it allowed to proceed.[19]

The divorce of Juffali and his second wife, Christina Estrada, was concluded in the British courts in July 2016 with Estrada being awarded £75 million, the largest such settlement in English legal history.[20]


On 20 July 2016, Juffali died in Zurich, Switzerland, after a lengthy period with cancer. [21]

Personal life[edit]

Juffali's first wife was fellow Saudi, Basma Al-Sulaiman, who received £40 million in a divorce settlement in 2000.[1] They married in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in 1980, where they lived in a marble palace. Guests of Juffali in Jeddah included Margaret Thatcher, John Major and George H. W. Bush.[22] They had three children.[23]

In 2001 Juffali married Christina Estrada, an American former Pirelli Calendar model, but they divorced in 2014.[8] Estrada started divorce proceedings in 2012, after he married Loujain Adada (Saudi law allows up to four wives), and has made a claim against Juffali for at least his three UK properties, which include a seven-bedroom home in Knightsbridge, London, in a converted church, valued in total at about £60 million. Juffali and Estrada have a teenage daughter.[1]

Juffali also owned Bishopsgate House in Egham, Surrey, which he acquired from his parents in about 2001.[24] There were "three butlers, six gardeners, five maids, two laundry girls, two drivers, two personal assistants, two nannies and an estate manager on the staff".[24] Juffali's art collection, estimated at £4 million, will be auctioned onsite at Bishopsgate House by Bonham's on 26 March 2018.[25]

Juffali was one of three Saudi businessmen who donated at least $1 million to the Clinton Presidential Center.[26]

In November 2012, Juffali married the 25-year-old Lebanese model and TV presenter Loujain Adada in Venice.[8] They had two children together.[27]


  1. ^ a b c Roberts, Elizabeth (14 June 2015). "Ex-model once linked to Prince Andrew 'in divorce battle with husband worth £4bn'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  2. ^ "Walid Juffali, Saudi businessman – obituary". Daily Telegraph. 24 July 2016. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  3. ^ "The Al Juffali family". arabianbusiness. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  4. ^ Stig Stenslie (21 August 2012). Regime Stability in Saudi Arabia: The Challenge of Succession. Routledge. p. 60. ISBN 978-1-136-51157-8. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  5. ^ "Strength in numbers". philanthropyage. 23 April 2013. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  6. ^ "Brain Forum Press Kit, page 10" (PDF). thebrainforum. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  7. ^ "Dr. Walid Juffali". zoominfo. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  8. ^ a b c d e Blair, David (9 November 2015). "Saudi billionaire gains legal immunity in Britain with career as Caribbean diplomat". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  9. ^ a b "CBIT Alumni/Past Staff". Imperial College. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  10. ^ "Completed PhD Theses". Imperial College. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  11. ^ a b c "Entrepreneurial Reality Show, "The Investor"". Albawaba. 11 December 2005. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  12. ^ Naomi Sakr (15 December 2007). Arab Television Today. I.B.Tauris. p. 116. ISBN 978-1-84511-564-7. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  13. ^ "Executive Management Team". neuropro. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  14. ^ "Statement on Dr. Walid Juffali" (Press release). St Lucia Ministry of Education, Human Resource Development and Labour. 11 November 2015. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  15. ^ Alexander, Harriet (26 December 2015). "Britain intervenes to strip Saudi billionaire of diplomatic immunity ahead of divorce case". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 2 January 2016.
  16. ^ Blair, David (21 January 2016). "Philip Hammond ordered to certify if Saudi billionaire Walid Juffali is a Caribbean diplomat". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  17. ^ Blair, David (21 January 2016). "Saudi billionaire in London court battle is 'suffering from cancer', says ex-wife". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  18. ^ Ramesh, Randeep (22 March 2016). "Hammond criticises judge for stripping diplomatic immunity from Saudi billionaire". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 22 March 2016.
  19. ^ Ramesh, Randeep (22 March 2016). "Ex-wife of Saudi billionaire wins right to claim slice of his fortune". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  20. ^ "Former Pirelli calendar model awarded £75m in largest divorce settlement in English legal history". telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 9 September 2016.
  21. ^ Gordon, Amie (22 July 2016). "Saudi billionaire dies just two weeks after his supermodel ex-wife was awarded £75m in high court divorce settlement". Daily Mail. Retrieved 23 July 2016.
  22. ^ Kay, Richard (23 January 2004). "The beauty who cost lover Pounds 40m". Daily Mail. London. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  23. ^ Dempster, Nigel (31 August 2001). "Mother in dark on Christina's 'baby'". Daily Mail. London. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  24. ^ a b Silverman, Rosa (3 February 2018). "Inside the British homes of Saudi billionaire Walid Juffali... with three butlers, six gardeners, £4m of art". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 12 February 2018 – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
  25. ^ "Bonhams : THE WALID JUFFALI COLLECTIONOffered by Bonhams Onsite at Bishopsgate House, Surrey". www.bonhams.com. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  26. ^ "Distant donors". The Times (69486). 20 November 2008. p. 48. Retrieved 13 November 2015 – via The Times Digital Archive. (Subscription required (help)).
  27. ^ "Christina Estrada in huge divorce case is awarded £75m from Sheikh Walid Juffali | Daily Mail Online". dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved 9 September 2016.