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Mexico now has the world's richest person: Carlos Slim

March 11, 2010 |  1:06 pm
Mexican telecommunications magnate Carlos Slim Helu has topped Forbes magazine's new ranking of the wealthiest people in the world, making him the first person to do so from a developing country. Slim occupied the No. 3 spot last year, but with a surge in his two major telecom holdings, Telcel and America Movil, he skipped over Americans Bill Gates and Warren Buffet on the Forbes list for 2010.

Slim, 70, controls dozens of companies in a variety of industries, making his wealth the subject of frequent criticism as social inequalities still plague many regions of Mexico. Millions of Mexicans live below the poverty line. Slim's net wealth is now estimated at $53.5 billion, up by $18.5 billion in just one year, the magazine says.

Another famous Mexican on the Forbes billionaires list dropped in the rankings this year -- perhaps because his wealth is the target of an international law enforcement campaign. Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, kingpin of the Sinaloa drug-trafficking cartel, went from debuting at No. 701 on the list to dropping to No. 937 this year. His appearance on the Forbes list in 2009 caused a scandal among Mexico's power elite, who saw his inclusion in the rankings as somehow legitimizing Guzman's criminal enterprise.

-- Daniel Hernandez in Mexico City