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Mexico's Slim, Gates, Zara chief Ortega world's richest

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim, Microsoft's Bill Gates and Zara fashion house boss Amancio Ortega of Spain topped the Forbes list of the world's wealthiest billionaires Monday.

Slim, who controls Latin American telecommunications power America Movil and retail/industrial group Grupo Carso, came in first among the mega-rich for the fourth straight year, with a fortune estimated at $73 billion, up $4 billion from a year ago.

Microsoft chairman Gates, a perennial top finisher in the list, placed second with $67 billion, up $6 billion from 2012, even as he continues to give his fortune away via global charity work of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Ortega, whose Inditex fashion group includes the popular Zara chain, vaulted from the fifth position into the third spot. His wealth is now estimated at $57 billion, rocketing from $37.5 billion a year ago.

Ortega was the biggest gainer in net worth, while Brazilian metals and oil magnate Eike Batista notched the biggest decline, with a $19.4 billion drop in his fortune. Batista slipped from seventh to 100th.

Slim and Gates were also in the top two spots last year.

After a year in which the the "Occupy Wall Street" movement decried the growing wealth of the so-called "One Percent" at the expense of the many, the Forbes annual list once again pointed to more billionaires amassing more money.

The list now boasts 1,426 names, a record, including 210 new members. The aggregate net worth of the group comes in a $5.4 trillion, up from $4.6 trillion last year, according to Forbes.

There was significant jump in women billionaires, with 138 in total, an increase of 34.

The US led the list with 442 tycoons, followed by China with 122, Russia with 110 and Germany with 58.

Forbes noted that rebounding equity markets and stronger consumer brands "drove a huge" number of newcomers, including Diesel jeans mogul Renzo Rosso, US retailer Bruce Nordstrom and US designer Tory Burch.

Warren Buffett, chief of US conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway, ranked fourth with $53.5 billion, and Larry Ellison, chief executive of US technology company Oracle, came in fifth with $43 billion.

Moving up into a tie for the sixth spot were brothers Charles and David Koch, with $34 billion each, fortunes built on their US oil refining, pulp and paper and chemicals empire Koch Industries.

Asia's richest man, Li Ka-shing, came in eighth with $31 billion. He owes to fortune to his sprawling transportation, trading and energy businesses.

French luxury tycoons rounded out the top 10.

Liliane Bettencourt and family, whose wealth stems from the L'Oreal cosmetics and beauty empire, rose to ninth with $30 billion, while Bernard Arnault, who presides over fashion and luxury products group LVMH, rated 10th on the list, with $29 billion. Arnault was fourth last year with $41 billion.

Members of the Walton family, the dynasty behind retailer Walmart, dominated the list of billionaires just outside the top 10.

Christy Walton and family rated 11th with $28.2 billion, Jim Walton rated 14th with $26.7 billion, Alice Walton placed 16th with $26.3 billion and S. Robson Walton rated 17th with $26.1 billion. Together, the family's riches came to $107.3 billion, or more than number-one Slim.

The full Forbes list is at http://www.forbes.com/billionaires/ .

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130304/mexicos-slim-gates-zara-chief-ortega-worlds-richest