Billionaire Bust

By Candice Krieger
March 12, 2009

Forgive me Roman, but it is a kind of pleasing to learn that the recession isn't only hurting the poor and middle class - the net-worth of the super-wealthy is also plunging.

Business magazine Forbes has released its annual list of the world's top billionaires. The edition, titled "Billionaire Bust" (in bold and reddish orange) demonstrates how hard the crisis has affected on the richest people on the planet, the number of billionaires on which has fallen by nearly 30 per cent. Last year the world had 1,125 billionaires. Today there are 793.

Chelsea football club owner Abramovich, Top Shop's Sir Philip Green and Westfield Group chairman Frank Lowy are among those who have seen their fortunes slashed. Abramovich reportedly lost £10.9 billion, taking his personal fortune to £6.2billion.

Besides, you know things are bad when even the world's richest are forfeiting their favourite toys.
Rumours are surfacing that many of the globes billionaires - so crunched by the financial crisis - have been forced to sell their yachts and jets.

Yachts and jets are famously expensive to maintain and the bigger it is the bigger the expense when it comes to preservation, repairs and parking - one would assume. Unsurprising then that Israel's wealthiest man Lev Leviev has reportedly sold his private Bombardier jet for £33 million - around £7 million less than he paid for it.

Abramovich has managed to keep his four yachts and private Airbus airliner, but it is unclear if he will be able to sail ahead with plans to build a £200m super-yacht named Eclipse which, at 550ft long, will be the largest private yacht ever constructed.

And who knows what has become of Bernard Madoff's 55-foot ‘get-away' away yacht named "Bull". One can assume he has either sold it or renamed it (bear?). Either way, he probably wishes he was on it.

Click here to browse the rich list pecking order.  


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