Forbes Rich List Includes 'Poor' Billionaires, Mexico's Most Wanted Man

"Shorty" Guzman, wanted for drug trafficking, makes the cut.

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Forbes' annual list of the world's billionaires is leaner this year (the world now only has 793 of them, compared with 1,125 a year ago, and their average net worth is $3 billion, down 21 percent.)

With $40 billion, Bill Gates recaptured the title of world's richest from Warren Buffett, whose fortune fell to $37 billion. Once again, telecom tycoon Carlos Slim took the third spot, with $35 billion this year.

The year's biggest eyebrow-raiser is #701 on the list, Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman, whose source of fortune is listed as drug trafficking. Forbes' description:

Mexico's most wanted man, "El Chapo", or Shorty, heads the Sinaloa cartel, one of the biggest suppliers of Cocaine to the U.S. In 1993 was arrested in Mexico on homicide and drug charges. Escaped from federal prison in 2001, reportedly through the laundry, and quickly regained control of his drug trafficking organization, which he still controls today. In 2008 Mexican and Colombian traffickers laundered between $18 billion and $39 billion in proceeds from wholesale shipments to the U.S.

Shorty, an alleged tunnels expert, is believed to have directed anywhere from a third to half of that during the past 8 years.

Guzman, who is five feet tall and apparently extraordinarily charismatic, isn't the first alleged drug trafficker to make the list. In 1989, Pablo Escobar ranked at #7, according to the BBC.

Back to the list. Other interesting things (via AFP):

  • New York replaced Moscow as home to the most billionaires.
  • Russia lost nearly two-thirds of its billionaires, and India lost more than half.
  • Michael Bloomberg was the only member of the top 20 to see a net gain.
  • The youngest on the list is Germany's Albert von Thurn und Taxis, 25, with $2.1 billion