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French dominate rich EU list

By Judy Martel · Bankrate.com
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Posted: 9 pm ET

The luxury businesses of fashion and beauty feature prominently in the list of the richest individuals of the European Union, so perhaps it's not surprising the French dominate the top 10, with four billionaires worth a total of more than $72 billion.

The richest individuals in the European Union, by country.

Spain's clothing retailer Amancio Ortega Gaona, with his estimated net worth of $40 billion, is the richest European, followed by Germany's discount supermarket founder Karl Albrecht, with $26 billion. Two other members of the Albrecht family, Karl's nephews Theo and Berthold, each with $11.2 billion, round out Germany's participation in the top 10.

The four French billionaires, three of whom have financial stakes in fashion and beauty are: Bernard Arnault, chairman of Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, worth $23.3 billion; Francois Pinault, honorary chair of Pinault-Printemps-Redoute, with $14.2 billion; Serge Dassault, CEO of Dassault Group, with $11.5 billion and Liliane Bettencourt of L'Oreal, who is worth $23.7 billion and is the only woman in the top 10.

Mykolas D. Rambus, CEO of Wealth-X, which compiled the list of richest Europeans, noted that "the dominance of luxury and fashion retail giants points to the mature nature of the economies in the Monetary Union and reflects the importance of the luxury industry to these economies."

The richest individual in the world, according to Bloomberg's Billionaire Index, is Mexico's telecommunications magnate Carlos Slim. His estimated net worth is $72 billiion. Second and third on the world's list are Microsoft founder Bill Gates, with $60 billion and Berkshire Hathaway's Warren Buffett, with a net worth of $46 billion.

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