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Gates no longer world richest - extended

Tourism

Mexican telecommunications tycoon has surpassed Bill Gates as the world's richest man, a Mexican financial Web site claims.

The Sentido Comun site said the wealth of Carlos Slim, 67, has shot past the founder of Microsoft's most recent report of $56 million to at least $67.8 billion. In its Who's Who list published Tuesday, the respected site said Slim's wealth surged based on his 33% holding in mobile phone group America Movil, which alone is worth $36.2 billion. Slim's other ventures include banking, construction, energy and tobacco, the report said. Telefonos de Mexico (Telmex) controls over 90% of the market of fixed-line telephony, and America Movil operator, which services the entire Latin America, accounts for 75% of the market with more than 44.9 million subscribers. Slim holds 41% of the common stock at America Movil and a 42.6% stake in Telmex, owning over 50% of voting shares in both companies. Slim's fortunes stands in stark contrast to much of the rest of Mexico's population. According to the World Bank, the average income, per capita in Mexico is $7,310 and it estimates that more than 45% of the population were living in poverty in 2005.

While Slim was ranked third richest man just a month ago by the Forbes Billionaires List after Gates and Warren Buffett at $52 billion, the latest news ranks Slim first, Gates second and Buffett third, a correspondent for The Telegraph reported. Software king Gates has been top since 1995.

Slim has pledged $4 billion into philanthropic foundations, while Gates and Buffett have donated tens of billions of dollars. In March, Slim said in a public appearance that ventures such as Ideal can help fight poverty more effectively than charity. Slim's spokesman said yesterday: “He is dedicated to working in philanthropy and creating jobs in Latin America. He is not in a race to see who wins first place.” (telegraph.co.uk, monstersandcritics.com, thesun.co.uk)

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