Guaranteed Wealth: Be A Dictator

  • It’s Good to be the King

    Back in March, Parade magazine came out with its list of the world’s worst dictators. It’s a fun read, though it doesn’t really focus on the fact that these guys are all pretty much loaded. It’s often hard to settle on a definitive number when estimating their net worth, primarily because their personal fortunes and the holdings of their countries often overlap. So, in honor of the fact that many of these guys or their representatives are in the U.S. for the U.N.’s big annual get together, we’ve put together a rundown of some of their financial holdings. We think it’s only fair to point this out, given that the citizens of these countries – regular people like me and you, except much, much poorer – are the one’s paying for the dictators’ American vacations.If you have your own favorite rich dictator, please feel free point that out  in the comments.Photo Credit: Alan Saunders
    Muammar el-Qaddafi, Lybia
  • Muammar el-Qaddafi, Lybia

    Though once firmly positioned as an enemy of the U.S., Lybia’s Qaddafi has since mellowed. In the wake of Sept. 11, he swore off all nuclear ambitions and since then has been back in the good graces of the U.S. Sort of. Recently Lybia welcomed home a man convicted of bombing a plane over Scotland in 1988 which angered many relatives of the Americans killed on the flight. And no one wants him staying in their town during his visit… except maybe The Donald.Mohamed Ali El Huwej, Qaddafi’s money manager, reportedly told Bloomberg, “The Libyan leader has developed a system for making global investments by using minority stakes, shell companies and interlocking share holdings in such a way as to not attract the attention of U.S. authorities.… The country has a total portfolio of $8 billion, Huwej says, including 5% of Banca di Roma SpA, Italy's fourth-largest bank; $1 billion in U.K. real estate; and stakes in 72 companies in more than 45 countries, many of which do business in the U.S.” He – er, Lybia – also owns a $21 million stake in the Italian football club Juventus. Photo Credit: Defenseimagery.mil
    King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, Saudi Arabia
  • King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, Saudi Arabia

    Many would argue that King Abdullah is a benevolent dictator, but if you are a woman who desires equal treatment under the law, you probably don’t feel that way. Parade reports,  “Despite King Abdullah’s talk of reform, Saudi women still need permission from male guardians to work, study, travel, marry, or even obtain an ID card.”The Saudi king was reportedly worth $21 billion in 2008. Guess where that money comes from… bought your hybrid yet?Photo Credit: Defenselink.mil
    Than Shwe, Myanmar
  • Than Shwe, Myanmar

    General Shwe has been in charge of Myanmar since 1992, when he succeeded the last dictator. The citizens of this country endure horrible poverty and things were only made worst when Cyclone Nargis hit in May. According to Parade, the storm left “140,000 dead or missing and more than 2 million homeless.”We’re sure the homeless citizens are comforted by the opulent standard of living enjoyed by their leader. Hard to know exactly how much this gentleman is worth, but if his daughter’s leaked wedding video is any indication, then he’s amassed a nice fortune for himself. Check out the millions of dollars worth of diamonds adorning the young lady toward the beginning of the clip. Toward the end you’ll be treated to some nice shots of the couple posing on the martial bed. Classy.Photo Credit: IRRI Images
    Kim Jong Il, North Korea
  • Kim Jong Il, North Korea

    Mocked the world over and worshiped at home, Kim Jong Il is perhaps the best-known dictator on our list. According to Parade, “his regime continues to be one of the world’s most repressive. Hundreds of thousands of citizens, including children, are imprisoned in labor camps for such ‘crimes’ as hoarding food and ‘anti-socialist’ activities.”In 2003,  U.S. News estimated his net worth to be $4 billion, “amassed in part, U.S. officials say, through drug and missile sales and counterfeiting.” Rumors are that he had a stroke at some point in the past couple years, though he recently appeared in public again when President Clinton went to North Korea to fetch two jailed American journalists.Photo Credit: Kremlin.ru
    Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe
  • Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe

    The infamous African strongman is widely credited for his country’s insanely high rate of inflation and general economic collapse. They recently abandoned their currency, shortly after printing a $100 trillion note. Again, knowing exactly how much money he has is tough, but according one report, every time he leaves the country for a trip, he takes out $500,000 in cash from the state treasury. It’s possible that he’s amassed more than $500 million from his foreign trip allowance alone. There’s also the $5 million crash pad he bought his kids in Hong Kong. Photo Credit: Defenseimagery.mil
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