Bill Gates defends Forbes title of world's richest man with an estimated fortune of $86bn

Mr Gates, whose wealth is estimated to be around $86bn, beat second-placed Berkshire Hathaway chief executive Warren Buffett, whose fortune was cited to be around $75.6bn

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Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates has defended his title as richest man in the world yet again, meaning that he has now taken the Forbes’ top spot for four consecutive years.

Mr Gates, whose wealth is estimated to be around $86bn, beat second-placed Berkshire Hathaway chief executive Warren Buffett, whose fortune was cited to be around $75.6bn.

Others in the top ten, which is heavily dominated by Americans in the technology sector, were Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, at number five, Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison at number seven and Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos.

Amancio Ortega, the Spanish business tycoon best known for owning the Zara fashion label, came in fourth, making him the highest ranking non-American with an estimated fortunate of $71.3bn.

In sixth spot was Carlos Slim Helu, with a fortune of $54.5bn. Mr Slim, who has in the past claimed the top spot, owns an array of conglomerates across a slew of sectors, including in mining, telecommunications, real estate, media and financial services.

US President Donald Trump dropped dramatically to 544th spot, according to Forbes. 

Forbes said on Monday that the number of billionaires had jumped 13 per cent to 2,043 from 1,810 last year. That’s the first time the figure has cracked 2,000.

Their combined net worth rose by 18 per cent to $7.67 trillion— also representing a new record.

The change in the number of billionaires -- up 233 since the 2016 list -- was the biggest jump in the list’s more than three decade history and Forbes said that gainers since last year’s list outnumbered losers by more than three to one.  

Mr Gates’ fortune was estimated at $75bn last year. But Mr Bezos’ $27.6bn increase on last year’s figure marked the largest increase of anyone on the list. Last year the Amazon founder was ranked fifth. 

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