There seemed to have been a major paradigm shift in the world’s political system. In the days gone by, the players otherwise known as politicians are weighed by their personality and character rather than by their substance. Although it could be said that no one goes into politics to get rich, but the rule of acceptability these days may have been supposedly shifted to their bank accounts as the system is becoming more and more dominated by financial heavyweights. In other words, one needs more than just being savvy to get to the top; a monstrous bank account is also essential. Which means that only a few poor people make it far in politics these days.
What is really the relationship between power and money? Have you ever wondered just how much these leaders are worth? While it may seem rather odd for those who make decisions for the common taxpayers to command a huge fortune, the fact still remains that there are magnates who pursue their political aspirations and try their hands at running a state or a country.
Moreover, besides the huge salary and the attendant benefits that come with their stint in public offices, most of these top leaders either have made other investments or come from old money in the family. Here is a round-up of the top 15 world’s richest politicians of all time; from democratic leaders to monarchs for whom running a country is a family business, and how much they are worth. US President Donald Trump worth $3.1 billion came in at number 17, and so he did not make the list.
15 Richest Politicians Of All Time and How Much They are Worth
Vladimir Putin – Russia
Vladimir Putin comes first on the list for good reasons. Besides being considered the richest politician in the world, and possibly, the world’s richest man, he has consecutively topped Forbes list of the most powerful man alive. Putin is the President of Russia since 2012. Before running for office, he was a former intelligence officer. He previously held the nation’s highest political office from 2000 to 2008 and has also served as Russia’s Prime Minister for one year during Yeltsin’s presidency.
His net worth has often been contested. Interestingly, Forbes reportedly won’t estimate his net worth, because it can’t verify his financial assets. How much he is really worth depends on who you asked, anyway. The values provided may be unclear but they all run into billions. His fortune has been placed between the corridors of $18 to $200 billion, a figure that would likely place him atop the world’s richest men.
Bill Browder, the CEO of Hermitage Capital Management believes the Russian frontman to be the richest man in the world with a net worth of $200 billion and Celebritynetworth.com pegged it at $70 billion which coincides with the former Russian government adviser, Stanislav Belkovsky’s estimate in 2012.
Putin’s affluence, influence, intelligence, and demeanor make him a force to reckon with.
Michael Bloomberg – United States
Michael Bloomberg of the United States, the founder of Bloomberg L.P, a financial, software, data, and media company is another political powerhouse whose name resonates well with affluence. He was the former mayor of New York and after several speculations of both presidential and gubernatorial runs in the past, he hints at a possible presidential run at the 2020 polls under the Democratic party which he rejoined in 2018.
He founded the company in 1981 after a 15-year career at the Wall Street firm, Salomon Brothers. Bloomberg assumed office as the 108th Mayor of New York City in 2001 and rose to national prominence during his three terms that ended in 2014. Outside the political and business spheres, he is an acclaimed philanthropist. He has donated huge amounts to promote public health, the arts, government innovation, educational, and environmental causes through his Bloomberg Philanthropies platform.
An examination of his finances revealed he has built a fortune which was estimated by Forbes to worth $47.6 billion, placing him on the second position of the world’s wealthiest persons.
Hassanal Bolkiah – Brunei
The 29th and current Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah is arguably the richest monarch in the world. He is also the first and the incumbent Prime Minister of Brunei. He ascended the throne in 1967 after his father, Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien III abdicated the throne on October 5th of the same year. The Sultan marked the golden jubilee of his reign in 2017 and is the second longest-reigning current monarch in the world after Queen Elizabeth II. He amended the Constitution of Brunei in 2006, declaring Sultan Bolkiah infallible.
It is often said that his wealth and luxurious lifestyle can make the rich look poor before him. He has been ranked among the wealthiest individuals in the world and in the late 1980’s, he topped the list of the world’s richest but got outmatched by Bill Gates in the 1990s.
With a fortune estimated to be $20 billion, he sits comfortably among the world’s richest politicians as well as among the richest people in the world. He makes his wealth out of natural oil and gas resources. His nation is the fifth richest in the world; it has no public debt and the people do not even have to pay any kind of tax.
The Sultan is not just affluent but is also well versed in the art of splurging. He has the most exotic, exquisite and expensive cars in his collections worth $5 billion with 7,000 high-end cars, a private plane made of gold and resides in a gigantic palace known as the Istana Nurul Iman which spreads over a floor area of 2,152,782 square feet with 1,788 rooms and 257 bathrooms.
Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan – United Arab Emirates
Here is another monarch who has redefined wealth and politics. Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan is the second and current president of the United Arab Emirates. He is also the hereditary ruler of Abu Dhabi, the richest emirate in the U.A.E., Emir of Abu Dhabi as well as the Supreme Commander of the Union Defence Force. Born on the 7th of September 1948, Sheikh Khalifa acceded to the throne on 2nd November 2004.
He belongs to the Al-Nahyan family which is among the world’s wealthiest monarchs with a fortune of $150 billion. The Emir is also the chairman of the world’s most influential Sovereign wealth fund known as Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) whose assets have been reported at $875 billion. Moreover, he controls 97.8 billion barrels of reserves and his net worth is estimated at $19 billion.
Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud – Saudi Arabia
Of the House of Saud, one of the richest families in the world, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud succeeded his half brother, King Abdullah after his death as the King of Saudi Arabia, Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia, and Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques on 23 January 2015. Since his ascension, he has been instrumental to many reforms in the nation including the Saudi intervention in the Yemeni Civil War, Saudi Vision 2030, and lifting the ban on women driving in 2017.
Prior to his becoming king, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud was the Deputy Governor of Riyadh, then the Governor for 48 years (1963 to 2011). He was then appointed Minister of Defense and was named the Crown Prince in 2012 following the death of his brother, Nayef bin Abdulaziz.
He is worth an estimated $17 billion which is derived largely from Saudi Arabia’s vast oil reserves.
Serge Dassault – France
Serge Dassault inherited an aviation empire, the Dassault Aviation from his World War I aircraft propeller-designer father, Marcel Dassault and went on to expand it into Dassault Groupe, comprising media, aerospace and software, auctions and real estate. The group also owns the country’s daily newspaper Le Figaro, a winery, real estate in Paris, and an art auction house. He served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Dassault Group until his death on May 28, 2018, aged 93 from a heart attack.
He was a conservative politician and was elected mayor of the Paris suburb of Corbeil-Essonne in 1995 before becoming a senator in 2004. According to Forbes, his net worth was estimated at $15 billion in 2016.
Mikhail Prokhorov – Russia
Russian’s Michael Prokhorov made most of his fortune through investments in Russian energy, precious metals, insurance, banking, and media companies and has become one of the leading industrialists in the nation.
He graduated from the Moscow Finance Institute and worked in the financial sector. Before entering politics in 2011, he served as the chairman of Russia’s largest gold producer, Polyus Gold, and as the President of Onexim Group. He also owns the NBA team, Brooklyn Nets.
Prokhorov ran for the 2012 presidential election but lost his bid to Putin. His wealth is estimated at $9.8 billion.
Zong Qinghou – China
Chinese entrepreneur and founder of Hangzhou Wahaha Group, China’s leading beverage company, Zong Qinghou has had his share of topping the country’s richest people. Forbes named him China’s richest man in 2010 as well as China’s richest man of 2012 and the second-richest man of 2013 according to the China Rich List by Hurun Report.
He started his company in 1987 at a store in a children’s school but has grown it to top the Chinese beverage industry and hopes to expand his empire into shopping malls.
On the political front, Zong is a delegate to the Chinese National People’s Congress since 2002. He is an outspoken advocate of lower taxes to support economic growth in the country. He has a fortune which has been estimated at $8.4 billion.
Savitri Jindal – India
Indian’s wealthiest woman is also the world’s wealthiest female politician. With a fortune estimated at $6.1 billion, Savitri Jindal sits well among the richest politicians of all time. After her husband, Om Prakash Jindal, founder of O.P. Jindal Group died in a helicopter crash in 2005, she took over the control of his $18 billion conglomerate which was divided among their four sons.
The New Delhi-based company deals on steel, power, cement, and infrastructure. Besides taking over the reins of the company, Savitri Jindal also inherited her husband’s political constituency and became a legislator in the north Indian state of Haryana. She also contributes to the public works her husband started, promoting social welfare, education, health care and the environment.
Silvio Berlusconi – Italy
Beyond lining up among the world’s richest politicians, Silvio Berlusconi came in 12th on Forbes 2009 List of The World’s Most Powerful People. The reason is not far fetched, he’s become a mainstay in Italian politics since he entered the political sphere in the 90s, dominating the arena for over two decades as the head of the center-right coalition. He is also a media tycoon; he built a media group known as Fininvest in the late 1970s, as well as holds stakes in publishing and banking firms.
Berlusconi served as Prime Minister of Italy for nine years, nearly 19 years as a member of the Chamber of Deputies, Italy’s lower house, and in 2013, became a member of the Senate. However, his tenure was marked by controversies and scandals. In 2013, Berlusconi was convicted of tax fraud and was initially banned from running for political office until 2019 but an Italian court lifted the ban in May 2018, and he ran for a seat in the European Parliament.
He has been described as brash and overbearing, and through his tenure, was often accused of being an authoritarian and a strongman who divides public opinion and political analysts. Opinions might be divided on the Italian leader, but it is never about his popularity and wealth. His net worth is estimated at $6.7 billion.
Lu Guanqiu – China
The Chinese billionaire, Lu Guanqiu may be dead but while he lived, he made his mark both on the business circle as a and a great political leader.
His success story was one out of the odds. He was not born into a family fortune neither was there any for him to inherit. Born into a peasant family on January 17, 1945, he dropped out of school at the age of 15 and became an ironsmith. With diligence and consistency despite the hardship he faced, Lu grew an empire turning the scraps into farm tools. He founded the Wanxiang Group known as one of the nation’s largest conglomerate with over 40,000 employees. The multi-billion dollar company is a leading producer of automobile facilities and components with other interests in real estate, agribusiness, and finance.
Lu was a delegate to the Chinese National People’s Congress. As at the time of his death in October 2017, his wealth was estimated at $6.6 billion, making his one of the richest politicians of all time.
Bidzina Ivanishvili – Georgia
Bidzina Ivanishvili was ranked the richest man in Georgia in 2012 by Forbes with a net worth of 6.1 billion dollars. What he didn’t have then was power, thus, he ventured into politics the same year by establishing the Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia party. He became the Prime Minister in October 2012 but resigned both his government and party positions a year later, ceding the post to an ally after the party won the presidential elections. He, however, returned as the party’s chairperson in April 2018.
Before venturing into politics, he was already a billionaire businessman with much of his wealth made from metals and banking in Russia before returning to Georgia in 2003 after he cashed out. His fortune is currently estimated at $4.6 billion.
Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum – United Arab Emirates
His initiatives and visions for a new United Arab Emirates and one of the best countries in the world by 2021 have seen the nation experience major developments and reforms. Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE as well as the Emir Sheikh of Dubai since 2006.
He has launched a number of major enterprises and is responsible for the growth of Dubai into a global city. He is also an acclaimed equestrian and a recognized poet in his native Arabic. His net worth has been estimated at $4.5 billion ranking him among the richest politicians in the world.
Henry Ross Perot, Sr. – United States
Forbes estimated his net worth in 2019 at $4.1 billion which is mostly derived from computer services and real estate. Ross Perot Sr. is best known in the US Political arena as a presidential candidate in 1992 and again in 1996. After failures on both attempts, he left the arena but remained an economic powerhouse in the nation. He may no longer be interested in running for office, but he is a politician nonetheless.
Tom Golisano – United States
He is the founder of Paychex Inc which offers payroll and human resources services to businesses and an acclaimed philanthropist who has donated over $300 million to support children with developmental disabilities through his B. Thomas Golisano Foundation.
Tom Golisano was a gubernatorial candidate for New York for three consecutive times (1994, 1998, 2002) under the Independence Party of New York but was unsuccessful on all attempts. As of 2019, he had a net worth of $3.4 billion.