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These power-players earned their money the old-fashioned way: by force
Forbes’ annual list of billionaires hit the streets this week, and there are more questions than ever swirling as to whether those eye-popping 10- and 11-figure estimates bear any relationship to reality.
Take the case of IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad. Last year, Forbes pegged his net worth at $3 billion. Bloomberg said it was $42 billion. To say the least, that’s a broad margin of uncertainty.
Meanwhile, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal — the Saudi prince known for his small mustache and his giant Boeing 747 personal plane — has taken public exception to Forbes’ latest estimate of his wealth. Despite the fact that a magazine staffer flew to the Middle East to personally survey some of his flashier holdings, the prince thinks they shortchanged him by $9 billion, and is cutting off all future communication with the title.
But if eagerly cooperative global titans and the founders of highly visible, public companies are the subject of so much confusion, how can Forbes really expect to pinpoint the wealth of the rest of the world’s super-rich? Remember, this is a group of people often inclined to use tax shelters, secret bank accounts and other financial sleights of hand to keep the true extent of their wealth private. (On the flip side, there’s Donald Trump.)
One way to answer that question is to look who is not on the list. Here are 10 probable billionaires that you won’t find in Forbes this month:
9. George Economou – Previously estimated by Forbes to be worth $1.7 billion, Economou presumably fell off the magazine’s list this year because of the state of the Greek economy. But French authorities filed reports in 2010 then in 2012 saying they had seen Greek wealth measuring in the hundreds of billions of euros flowing into Swiss bank accounts. And the fact that his world-class art collection is still expanding, suggests he’s still a billionaire.