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Mexico billionaire Carlos Slim gains free control of Web address in his name

January 15, 2009 |  9:08 am

An Indonesian man took on the second-richest man in the world this week -- and (surprise!) lost.

Carlos Slim, whose wealth is second only to that of U.S. financier Warren Buffet, according to Forbes magazine, won control of a Web address in his name after its owner -- identified as Ahmad Rusli of Jakarta -- tried to sell it to him for $55 million. Slim won't have to pay a dime.

Reuters reports that an arbitrator for the United Nations' copyright agency WIPO ruled that the website address had been "registered in bad faith" and ordered that it be transferred to the businessman.

Slim's lawyers presented WIPO with documents that showed the owner of the Web address had threatened to link it to a pornographic website unless he got the money he was demanding.

But Rusli apparently told the arbitrator by e-mail that he had wanted to protect the address for Slim and that the threat was simply aimed at getting the tycoon's attention to his cash request, Reuters reports.

Slim's full name is Carlos Slim Helu; Helu is his mother's last name, which in the Spanish-speaking world is part of a person's official name. But he uses only the paternal last name, Slim, in his multitude of businesses across Latin America and in the United States. Slim owns Mexico's main telecom provider Telmex as well as America Movil, a wireless telephone provider that spans Latin America. He also has a hand in some philanthropic projects, as we reported last year.

-- Deborah Bonello in Mexico City