Getting a little tired of reading how a real estate mogul and reality TV star, whose worth is estimated by Forbes at $3.7 billion, managed to become the rich man President-elect of the United States of America?
Well, let us distract you with some other billionaires who also gained power through the ballot box and went from being business tycoons to being heads of state.
Donald Trump will soon become a rich man President, check out five other political leaders who initially amassed billions before seeking for the highest office in their countries;
Silvio Berlusconi served as Italy’s prime minister in four governments. He amassed his fortune in media and according to Forbes magazine, in 2016 Berlusconi was Italy’s fifth-richest man with a fortune of $6.2 billion, being the 188th richest in the world.
In the course of performing his duties as Prime Minister, several conflicts between private interests and his public duties landed Silvio Berlusconi in court and several of those legal proceedings are still ongoing.
Petro Poroshenko is the incumbent rich man President of Ukraine and the fifth President that Ukraine has had. He has been in office since 2014 after previously serving as the Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2009 to 2010, and as the Minister of Trade and Economic Development in 2012.
Unfortunately, he dropped off Forbes magazine’s list of billionaires in 2015.
Thaksin Shinawatra is another media mogul who was the prime minister of Thailand from February 2001 to September 2006. He was overthrown in a military coup on 19 September 2006 and has lived in a self-imposed exile since then, which was broken only in 2008 when he visited the country briefly.
He got sentenced in absentia to two years in jail for abuse of power and has continued to influence Thai politics, through the People’s Power Party that ruled in 2008.
Rafiq Hariri was a two-time Prime Minister of Lebanon.
He served in the periods of 1992-1998 and 2000-2004. His wealth came from a vast empire that covered construction, real estate, media and telecommunications and his total wealth was put at around $10 billion. He, however, faced an unfortunate end in 2005 when he was assassinated.
Sebastian Pinera was president of Chile from March 2010 to March 2014. He climbed the ladder of success the old-fashioned way by starting out selling credit cards, then moving into aviation, mining, media, real estate and pharmaceuticals. His fortune is estimated by Forbes magazine to be about $2.5 billion.
With one fighting legal battles in court, one dropping from his position as a billionaire, another jailed in absentia and self-exiled and another assassinated, billionaires do not seem to do so well with the reigns of their countries.
One wonders if Donald Trump will join these cautionary tales or if he will be the exception like Chile’s Sebastian Pinera seems to be currently.