Asked to name the world’s wealthiest billionaires, you will likely cite Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos. Well, you aren’t exactly wrong going with traditional sources such as the Forbes Billionaires List. However, some individuals aren’t on this list but control an immeasurable amount of dark wealth. The following ten individuals and families control a vast amount of wealth. However, for some reasons, say privacy and wealth acquired in non-savory ways, these billionaires choose to remain secret.
10. Isabel Dos Santos
Eldest daughter of Angola’s longtime president Jose Eduardo Dos Santos, Isabela Dos Santos is Africa’s wealthiest woman valued at $3.6 billion. Back in 2012, Forbes valued her at $500 million, but only last year, her valuation increased to over $3 billion. This was not from savvy investment decisions, but rather due to her father transferring stakes in several Angolan companies to her. Of her over $3 billion net worth, two thirds, or $1.8 billion, corresponds to stocks in the Portuguese oil and gas company Galp.
She acquired the shares through Sonangol, Angola’s National Oil Company, but later they transferred it to her through backroom dealings. Though Isabel asserts that her wealth is clean, Maka Angola investigations proved that contrary to her assertions, she acquired the shares using public funds.
Isabel Dos Santos has managed to hide her wealth, or better yet how she obtained it using a group of companies. To avoid any direct link to her, she holds her interests in Galp indirectly through an offshore company. Esperaza owns 45% of Amorin Energia which is the largest Galp shareholder with 38.4% ownership.
There are a couple of reasons why Isabel Dos Santos, would instead not reveal her net worth and how she got it. First, it would lead to criminal investigations. Second, they would rule her deal with Sonangol through Esperaza Holding BV null and void. That would make her shares in Galp revert to the Angolan people.
9. Kim Jong Un
Kim Jong Un is said to be worth around $5 billion. This might not be so noteworthy compared to other individuals on this list, but it’s still a massive net worth as North Koreans earn an average of $1800 per year. A joint investigation by South Korea and America discovered this wealth back in 2013. This investigation managed to unearth how Kim JongUn and his family have managed to hide their ill-gotten wealth by distributing it in over 200 foreign bank accounts across the world.
The authoritarian dictator cannot risk exposing his vast wealth as it would lead to an uprising against him; much like the Arab Spring which led to the ouster of several long-time leaders. Even so, his leadership is based on fear and brainwashing people, so it’s unlikely they can challenge his grasp on power as easily as citizens elsewhere have managed to.
8. Bashar Al Assad
We all know a bit about the lifetime leader of Syria, Bashar Al Assad, owing to the ongoing crisis in the country. Bashar Al Assad is estimated to be worth between $1bn and $1.5bn, but this is only his realizable assets. The actual figure goes well beyond this. That’s because Assad and his close friends controlled over 60% of the countries assets during peacetime. The only issue with getting the real net worth of Bashar Al Assad is because his money trail is hard to trace. Nonetheless, sources put his fortune at around $120 bn.
This wealth is difficult to account for as it’s in countries such as Russia and Hong Kong with lackluster financial rules and offshore tax havens. Additionally, Assad has deployed a myriad of companies to disguise his wealth. Nonetheless, to reduce the risk of seizure Al Assad cannot disclose his net worth. Especially since America and European nations have made it their mission to freeze Assad’s asset to undermine his regime.
7. Hosni Mubarak
Another Authoritarian Dictator, Hosni Mubarak amassed a vast amount of wealth worth between $40 billion and $70 billion during his 30-year rule as the president of Egypt. This sum is comparable to the value of other gulf country leaders. He didn’t squirrel away this much wealth from his salary as he earned a measly $808 a month in 2007 and 2008… so it’s mostly corruption money.
Mubarak made his first millions through military contracts during his days as an officer in Egypt’s air force. He would later add to his wealth when he came into power through corruption and stifling of public resources. His sons, who were instrumental in increasing his vast wealth, took huge cuts from investing in Egyptian businesses. They did it by giving preferred entrepreneurs the capacity to operate as monopolies in the country.
Hosni Mubarak has managed to hide his vast wealth in foreign banks and offshore accounts, while the rest is in real estate in prime cities such as Paris, Madrid, New York, and London. Nonetheless, he cannot openly disclose his fortune as it’s one of the reasons he was overthrown and could increase his criminal charges. Additionally, they could freeze his accounts as well.
6. Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah
To paint a more realistic picture of the kind of obscene wealth we’re dealing with here, this Sultan owns over 600 Rolls-Royce automobiles. Also he has the world’s largest private residence with 1788 rooms. Hassanal Bolkiah is the Sultan of Brunei. Most of his wealth is from gas and oil sales. Back in the 90s, Hassanal Bolkiah was the world’s richest man worth $40 billion. This has since reduced to $20 billion in recent years.
The Sultan does not concern himself with hiding his wealth, since although many people regard it as the country’s wealth, it is tied to him. He has put much of his wealth in real estate acquiring properties like monopoly pieces. Also, he owns Asprey, the London jeweler to the queen, the Dorchester in London and hotel Bel Air and Beverly Hills hotel in LA. He also pays $21,000 for haircuts, something you’ll know if you’ve seen our video on ridiculous purchases made by billionaires like him.
5. The House of Saud
They call it Saudi Arabia for a reason. Its named after the Saud family that has ruled the country from the 18th century. The family has a value of $1.4 trillion owing to their control of Saudi Arabia’s oil reserves. Nonetheless, it’s difficult to trace their wealth as its distributed amongst its 15,000 family members through the national welfare program. Although only about 2000 members control most of the wealth, it’s still difficult to trace.
Additionally, the royal family has managed to keep secret their income sources by designing projects to provide revenue for the King and his full-time brothers. These are highly secretive and subject to no ministry oversight.
The Al Saud family cannot risk revealing their actual net worth as it’s mostly skimmed from oil. In a meeting with a U.S ambassador back in 1996, one prince alluded to revenues from one million barrels of oil per day going to only five or six princes. Such information would only fuel the anger of Saudi protestors dissenting for reforms. Also, it would bolster those who believe the kingdom is ready for a revolution.
4. Ratan Tata
Head of the TATA group of companies, Ratan Tata is currently valued at only $1 billion. However, this doesn’t reflect his real net worth. Also, it’s mindboggling how the head of one of the world’s top 50 companies according to market capitalization and reputation, isn’t amongst the world’s wealthiest. The TATA group runs 96 companies; of which 28 are publicly listed companies. These businesses also span all infrastructure industries like banking, steel, chemicals, hotels, power and textiles.
Ratan Tata’s real wealth cannot be realized as the companies are run by the principal company TATAS sons. And the chief owner isn’t Ratan Tata but several charitable organizations with 65% ownership. This wealth doesn’t show on Tata’s financial statement, but he would be valued at around $85 billion if it was, making him the world’s wealthiest man.
3. Carlos Slim Helu
According to some sources, Slim is worth $61.2 billion making him the 6th wealthiest billionaire in the world. This is the first time that Carlos has been out of the top five in nearly a decade. However, his actual net worth could reach $129 billion given the control he has over the Mexican economy. Carlos Slim Helu owns over 200 companies, and it’s projected that roughly 40% of the Mexican stock exchange comprises of companies that are under his control.
Additionally, Mexico has come to be known as “Slimlandia” signifying the influence Slim Helu has on the average Mexican. It’s quite difficult for a Mexican to spend a day without contributing to Carlos’ wealth. They’re born in his hospitals, drive on his roads, and use his telecommunications services.
Most of Carlos’ net worth comes from telecommunications and construction. With control over 80% of all Mexico landlines and 70% of all cellular companies, Carlos can impose his will on how much Mexicans pay for communication. Between 2005 and 2009, Mexicans were overcharged about $6.5 billion a year for landlines. Also, Slim’s dominance earned him $129 billion over the five year period.
Though most of Carlos Slim Helu’s wealth is legal, he refrains from divulging its extent as his actions have impoverished most of the country. It may lead to people boycotting his businesses. On the other hand, you have to applaud him on his success, especially given that he’s done it legally.
2. Vladimir Putin
The Russian president is the world’s wealthiest billionaire and the most powerful man. According to some financier estimates, he is worth more than Bill Gates,and Jeff Bezos combined with a value of around $200 billion. According to Bill Browder, former CEO of Hermitage capital management, Putin has hired over 10,000 officials with instructions to kill, kidnap, and extort money from citizens by seizing their property.
Also, Putin uses his political clout to coerce Russian investors into signing over vast holdings of their companies to him. However, seeing as most of this wealth is ill-gotten, Putin cannot reveal his real wealth to avoid the risk of seizure. Also, to reduce the risks involved, he has put most of his wealth in company holdings, real estate, and other people’s accounts.
1. Rothschild Family
With a valuation of over $2 trillion, the Rothschild family is the wealthiest family in the world; it is also one of the best-kept wealth secrets. This family’s empire began with Mayer Rothschild back in the 18thcentury when he established banking and finance houses in Germany. With the help of his five sons, the Rothschild banks became the first to transcend borders.
With the careful cultivation of this wealth, the Rothschild’s benefited immensely during the French revolution by funding and providing materials to Austria. They would later evolve into a multi-national group and become a chief financier of war and industry.
Of the five sons, Nathan Rothschild would go on to become the most successful. He would establish the central banking structure we use today. Also, he used underhand tactics during England’s war with Napoleon to cause panic in England. That led to the total collapse of England’s stock exchange. At this time, his agents started snatching bonds at record low-prices. Two days later, Nathan was in control of England’s stock exchange.
According to investopedia, as of 2015, England was still paying back the Rothschild family for money owed from this Napoleonic fraud. The Rothschild’s have managed to hide their wealth by dividing it amongst the many members of their family. Finally, they cannot reveal their massive wealth as its proceeds from wars and only shows the enormous income inequality in the world.
Which of the secret billionaires surprised you the most? Also, How do you feel about their vast wealth? Does it encourage you to work hard or do you think the worlds inequality is unreasonable? Let me know in the comments down below! Thanks for reading.