PARIS: Donald Trump, the real estate mogul, reality TV star and US president-elect whose worth Forbes estimates at $3.7 billion, joins an ultra-elite group of billionaire business tycoons who have come to power through the ballot box.
Other political leaders who first made fortunes in businesses from chocolates to telecoms include:
ITALY: Media mogul Silvio Berlusconi served as prime minister three times between 1994 and 2011. According to Forbes magazine Berlusconi was in 2016 Italy’s fifth-richest man with a fortune of $6.2 billion, at 188th place in the world. Conflicts between his private interests and his public duties landed him in court many times and several legal proceedings are still ongoing.
LEBANON: Businessman Rafiq Hariri was prime minister twice from 1992-1998 and 2000-2004, before he was assassinated in 2005. His vast empire spanned construction, real estate, media and telecommunications. He was described as one of the world’s 100 richest people, with some putting his wealth at around $10 billion.
GEORGIA: Bidzina Ivanishvili served as prime minister from October 2012 to November 2013. He made his fortune — listed by Forbes as $4.8 billion in 2016 — first selling computers and then buying up Soviet-era mining and metals businesses for millions and selling them for billions.
CHILE: Sebastian Pinera was president of Chile between March 2010 and March 2014. He started out selling credit cards, moving into aviation, mining, media, real estate and pharmaceuticals. His fortune is estimated at $2.5 billion by Forbes.
UKRAINE: Petro Poroshenko, known as the “Chocolate King,” is the ex-Soviet state’s president since June 2014. He dropped off Forbes magazine’s list of billionaires in 2015.
THAILAND: Media mogul Thaksin Shinawatra was prime minister from February 2001 to September 2006. Deposed in a 2006 military coup and now living in exile, he had $2 billion in assets frozen by Thai authorities due to corruption charges.