1 – Muammar Gaddafi: $200 billion (£162bn)
Richest world leader number two is Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. In 2011, officials estimated that the assassinated chairman, who was in power from 1977 to 2011, stashed away $200 billion (£144bn) in secret bank accounts, shady investments and suspect real estate deals, courtesy of the country’s massive oil revenues. Gaddafi’s wealth was intended to go into a trust to help stabilise war-torn Libya, but the colonel continues to be controversial even in death, with his frozen funds generating cash for unknown beneficiaries and much of his money’s whereabouts still a mystery.
2. Vladimir Putin: up to $200 billion (£162bn)
The dubious accolade of richest world leader of all time goes to two heads of state. One of them is Vladimir Putin. In 2018, the Russian president’s official salary totalled 8.6 million rubles, which is the equivalent of $116,000 (£83.7k), but he was reportedly worth up to $200 billion (£162bn) in 2017 according to former Hermitage Capital Management CEO Bill Browder, who revealed his estimate under oath to the US Senate Judiciary Committee. The money is allegedly tied up in numerous banks and investments in the West. Already Russia’s longest-serving leader since Josef Stalin, new legislation passed last July could allow the billionaire to rule until 2036, giving him plenty of time to amass even more wealth.
3. Hosni Mubarak: $70 billion (£50bn)
Another disreputable leader who was overthrown following the Arab Spring protests, Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak was removed from power in 2011 after serving 30 years as president of the country. That same year, ABC News and the Guardian alleged the politician had stolen $70 billion (£50bn) from the Egyptian people, though a report in the Washington Times suggests the sum could have been as much as an eye-watering $700 billion (£505bn).
4. Ali Abdullah Saleh: up to $64 billion (£46.2bn)
The president of Yemen from 1990 to 2012 was as corrupt as they come. Saleh was accused of stealing incredible sums of money from the Yemeni people before his ousting following the Arab Spring series of protests. In fact, a report presented to the United Nations Security Council in 2015 pegged his net worth at up to $64 billion (£41.4bn).
5. Suharto: up to $55 billion (£39bn)
Suharto was president of Indonesia for 31 years until his resignation in 1998. The military despot, who in 2004 was named the most corrupt world leader of the previous 20 years by Transparency International, plundered up to $35 billion – that’s the equivalent of $55 billion (£39bn) today – during his grip on power through a system his opponents dubbed “corruption, collusion, nepotism”.
6. Ferdinand Marcos: $53.1 billion (£37.8bn)
Cruel and corrupt, Ferdinand Marcos was president of the Philippines from 1972 to 1986. Together with his wife Imelda, who is widely known for her collection of over 3,000 high-end shoes, the despot embezzled hundreds of millions and, if reports are correct, up to $53.1 billion (£37.8bn) in today’s money went missing during his dictatorship.
7. Mahathir Mohamad: $45 billion (£32bn)
Formerly the world’s oldest sitting prime minister, Malaysia’s Mahathir Mohamad had a long stint in power from 1981 to 2003, and then again between 2018 and February 2020. Via his proxy Tun Daim Zainuddin, the elderly leader, who is now 95, is said to have around $45 billion (£32bn) stashed away and is thought to have interests in 50 banks around the world.
8. Ibrahim Babangida: $22.7 billion (£16.2bn)
Another Nigerian leader who appropriated billions of the nation’s money, Ibrahim Babangida was president of the country from 1985 to 1993. The shameless military general is believed to have laundered $12.4 billion (£7bn) off the back of Nigeria’s enormous oil windfall during the 1992 Gulf War. When adjusted for inflation, that’s $22.7 billion (£16.2bn) today.
9. José Eduardo dos Santos: $20 billion (£14.2bn)
The former president of Angola hoarded enormous sums of money when he was leader of the country from 1979 to 2017. Ignoring the plight of his people, who are in the most part poverty-stricken, the politician chose to enrich himself and his family instead and is now worth an estimated $20 billion (£14.2bn). His daughter Isabel was Africa’s richest woman but corruption charges and cases against her in three different countries have seen her assets frozen, and Forbes no longer lists her among Africa’s richest people.
10. Mobutu Sese Seko: $12 billion (£8.5bn)
Mobutu Sese Seko was president of Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of the Congo, from 1965 to 1997. Just as free and easy with his people’s money as the other dictators in our round-up, the despotic leader helped himself to $5 billion, as estimated in 1984. That’s the equivalent of $12 billion (£8.5bn) in today’s money. He owned palaces in Zaire, as well as grand residences in Paris and Switzerland, and was partial to pricey luxuries including vintage rosé champagne.
11. Zine El Abidine Ben Ali: $10 billion (£7.2bn)
Loathed by his people, ex-Tunisian leader Zine El Abidine Ben Ali is thought to have controlled between 30% to 40% of the nation’s economy during his time in power. Together with his family, the late president held assets estimated to be worth around $10 billion (£7.2bn) in 2011, the year he was ousted.
12. Silvio Berlusconi: $9 billion (£5.4bn)
Italy’s prime minister for three terms in the 1990s, 2000s and 2010s, Silvio Berlusconi began his career in construction but entered the world of media in 1973 where he made his fortune. The former owner of football club AC Milan and a convicted tax fraudster, Berlusconi’s net worth peaked at $9 billion (£5.4bn) in 2014, but his family’s fortune has since declined to a total of $8.1 billion (£5.8bn).
13. Adolf Hitler: $6.5 billion (£4.6bn)
The most reviled despot of them all, Adolf Hitler swindled Germany out of billions. He also made millions from the sale of his book Mein Kampf. According to a 2014 documentary, Hitler had a net worth of 1.1 billion reichsmarks, which is $6.5 billion (£4.6bn) in today’s money.
14. Sani Abacha: $6.3 billion (£4.5bn)
Military despot Sani Abacha was the de facto leader of Nigeria from 1993 until his death in 1998. His time in office was marked by widespread human rights abuses and endemic corruption. Following the dictator’s demise, the Nigerian government discovered the tyrant had squirrelled away $4 billion (£2.4bn) in secret bank accounts in Switzerland and elsewhere. In today’s money that’s a whopping $6.3 billion (£4.5bn).
15. Kim Jong-un: $5 billion (£3.6bn)
North Korea’s current head honcho Kim Jong-un rivals his father in barbarity and beats him when it comes to net worth. The supreme leader of the Hermit Kingdom, who reportedly enjoys the finer things in life from yachts and luxury cars to caviar and vintage wine, is said to have a fortune of $5 billion (£3.6bn).
Source : Love Money