Mexico's Most-Wanted Man Featured in Forbes's List of Billionaires

by Charlotte Cardingham
Posted by Hannah on 13 March 2009
Man Featured in Forbes's List of Billionaires

Famed for his prolific Sinaloa drug cartel, billionaire Joaquin Guzman's presence on Forbes magazines's rich list has incensed Mexican officials.

Forbes magazine’s recently published rich-list has once again sparked controversy after factoring Mexico’s most-wanted criminal, billionaire Joaquin Guzman into its calculations.

Sandwiched between a Swiss oil tycoon and an American convenience food heir, the drug baron appears in 701st position along with a number of others who also hold more than $1 billion (£722million) to their name.

Guzman is believed to be the head of one of Mexico’s most powerful drug cartels and authorities hold him largely responsible for the widespread violence that has swept through the north of the country during the past 12 months. Reports suggest that over 2,000 people have already died in a ferocious turf-war raging between Guzman’s Sinaloa cartel and a rival gang.

The 56 year old billionaire has remained at large since his notorious escape from jail in 2001 when he reportedly bought his freedom by bribing every single member of staff working in his housing prison. As part of the subsequent investigation 71 officials were arrested for aiding his escape in the back of a laundry truck.

His influence is such that even the Mexican army refused to attempt an arrest at his recent wedding – to an 18 year old bride, no less - largely because the event was so heavily guarded by his henchmen.

’El chapo’ or ‘shorty’, as he is known to officials, is also counted amongst America’s ‘most wanted men’ thanks to his vast cocaine trafficking enterprise within the country. As such he currently has a $5 million prize on his head.

Guzman’s presence on Forbes’s list has been severely condemned by Mexican authorities; even the President has voiced his disapproval: "magazines are not only attacking and lying about the situation in Mexico but are also praising criminals."

Eduardo Medina Mora, Mexico’s Attorney General, also rebuked Forbes’s act of "comparing the deplorable activity of a criminal wanted in Mexico and abroad with that of honest businessmen."

However, this is not the first time an individual of disrepute has made their way onto the rich list alongside royalty, tycoons and wealthy heirs. In 1989 Pablo Escobar, who also found fortune in Guzman’s line of business, was ranked the 7th wealthiest man in the world with a fortune amassing $25 billion (£18 billion).


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Your Comments

on 21 Apr 2009 16:53
i think his value is under estimated, they only indicate a fraction of what he is worth.
on 14 Apr 2009 02:14
Wow. The amount of animosity towards the wealthy here is disturbing.
on 1 Apr 2009 15:47
The only difference between emperors and pirates is the scale on which they rob. The wealthy are wealthy because they have swindled, lied, stolen and backstabbed their ways into positions of power. They're all scum.
on 25 Mar 2009 15:29
Chester.....what an idiot!!!!! Every country has its criminals and like Bob said most wealthy people have a criminal past.
on 24 Mar 2009 21:48
Nothing personal it's business as usual. I agree with Bob 100%.
on 20 Mar 2009 19:49
I find it amusing that royalty, tycoons and wealthy heirs are not considered figures of disrepute.
Al Knabb
on 14 Mar 2009 18:31
Nothing surprises me with our news media, anymore. What a stupid, idiotic thing for a once respected family (Forbes) to allow. They can provide no viable reason or excuse for this affront to the USA and Mexico.
on 14 Mar 2009 17:35
Well, he's only rich because of government protectionism of his industry. Outlawing any good or service is - by definition - handing criminals a monopoly on it.
on 14 Mar 2009 16:33
i cannot believe it
on 14 Mar 2009 14:30
Perhaps, Forbes is trying to say: Most of these people are criminals. They only appear to be legit...
on 14 Mar 2009 13:41
Now I know for sure that there is no god
on 14 Mar 2009 07:26
Only in Mexico.....
on 14 Mar 2009 06:05
A $5M dollar prize? Why do we offer that much money for the "capture" of such a low-life, who'll just make headlines and force even more money to be spent on him for his prosecution, defense, and if convicted, millions more in incarcerations and appeals? With NObama undoubtedly going to downsize and neuter our military, let's send a small team of Navy SEALS in to eliminate him with a .12 cent bullet? Ultimately no less than maybe $110K spent and the problem is ELIMINATED. Oh, sorry. The liberals. Well, it was a thought. Nonetheless, give me a $1M advance for equipment and allow me access to undetered intelligence info, and I'll do it myself and the U.S./Mexica can even have deniable culpability.
on 14 Mar 2009 00:50
So many of the very rich came by their money illegally.1 to 3 generations later everyone forgets and just know the heirs as rich.