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Bill Gates (L) and Donald Trump
Photo: Reuters, AFP
Forbes top ten: Gates takes the lead while Trump plummets
The annual billionaires’ list includes 18 Israelis; Eyal Ofer, who lives in London, is the richest Israeli with a capital of $9.2 billion; Bill Gates continues to maintain his status as the richest man in the world while US President Donald Trump saw his fortune reduced by $1 billion.
Bill Gates maintained his status as the richest man in the world, according to Forbes' list of billionaires for 2017, which was published on Monday. The list shows that the past year has been good for the world's wealthiest, including 233 new people who have become billionaires, raising the total number of people with 9-digit capital to 2,043.

 

 

The list of global billionaires includes 18 Israelis. Eyal Ofer, who lives in London, remains the richest Israeli with a capital of $ 9.2 billion—a $2 billion drop from last year—which placed him in the 145th spot. Three other billionaires who have been active in Israel are casino and media mogul Sheldon Adelson, who owns Israeli daily Israel Hayom and ranks at the 20th spot due to his $30.4 billion; Leonard Blavatnik, controlling shareholder of Clal Industries, who ranked 40th with $20 billion; and Patrick Drahi, HOT's owner with $13 billion, which put him in 92nd place.

 

Several Jews also ranked in top spots on the list. Most notably are Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg—who was born Jewish but identifies as atheist—with $56 billion at number 5; Bloomberg LP CEO and former mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg with $47.5 billion at number 10; and the aforementioned Adelson.

 

Principal shareholder of L'Oréal cosmetics Liliane Bettencourt clocks in at number 14 as the world's richest woman, with $39.5 billion. Alice Walton, the heiress to American mega-chain Walmart ranks at number 17 with $33.8 billion. And at number 26, with $27 billion, the third richest woman was found to be Jacqueline Mars, who owns one third of candy making powerhouse Mars Inc.

 

The total net worth of all the billionaires on the list is $7.67 trillion, more than twice Britain's annual GDP. Forbes noted that this increase in capital value is largely due to the rally in stock markets and the rise in oil prices over the past 12 months.

 

Gate (L) and Trump (Photos: Reuters, AFP)
Gate (L) and Trump (Photos: Reuters, AFP)

 

But while markets around the world have hit record highs since Donald Trump was elected president in November, his own fortune has shrunk by $1 billion in the past year to $3.5 billion, giving him the 544th place.

 

Surprisingly, the decline in capital is not related to his role as president or to his controversial election campaign, but was caused by a decline in the value of his office buildings in Manhattan.

 

In the past year, Trump also spent a lot of money, claiming he funded his own campaign for the presidency of the United States, though this claim was questioned by many. Trump has broken from a decades’ old tradition by adamantly refusing to disclose his tax forms, which would have helped paint a more accurate picture of his capital.

 

However, according to Trump's statements, his fortune is much higher, and in 2016 stood at $10 billion. "I have a great company and I possess one of the best real estate portfolios, and many of my assets are considered among the best and most famous in the world," he said during his presidential campaign.

 

Bill Gates's fortune increased this year by $11 billion, reaching $86 billion. A close second is investor Warren Buffett with $75.6 billion, and coming in third was Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who also posted the biggest gain after his fortune expanded by $27.6 billion to reach $72.8 billion. Founder of Zara Amancio Ortega and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg ranked fourth and fifth, respectively.

 

The United States boasts the largest number of billionaires—565, while China has 319 on the list. The number would be 387 if one would take into account both Hong Kong and Macau. Germany is ranked third, with 114 billionaires.

 

Norwegian sisters Alexandra and Katarina Andersen, aged 20 and 21, are the world's youngest billionaires with a fortune of $1.2 billion, thanks to their father's 42 percent share of the family investment company, Ferd. Also on the list of young billionaires is Owen Spiegel, the founder of Snapchat, who at the age of 26 totes a fortune of $4 billion.

 

(Translated and edited by N. Elias)

 

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