The $1Bn Dictator Castro Has Made a Fortune, Says Magazine

Article excerpt

AS A committed communist, Fidel Castro was furious when he was said to have a $550million fortune.

But that was a conservative estimate and the Cuban president is actually all but a dollar billionaire, according to the Forbes financial magazine.

Castro, the world's longestserving communist leader, has always insisted that, true to his revolutionary ideals, he has no personal wealth.

But the American magazine begs to differ, saying he is worth $900million ([pounds sterling]487million).

Forbes made its evaluation by assuming that he has economic control over a web of stateowned companies from which, according to former Cuban officials, he skims the profits.

The estimate appears in Forbes's annual tally of Kings, Queens and Dictators' fortunes.

When the 2005 list put his wealth at $500million, 79-year-old Castro said he was considering suing and scoffed that the estimate would mean he was nearly as rich as the Queen.

'Do they think I am Mobutu Sese Seko (Zaire's former president who stole billions from his country) or one of the many millionaires-those thieves and plunderers-that the empire has suckledand protected?' he said, referring to his arch enemy, the U.S.

This year, Castro would be listed well above the Queen.

Forbes said her estates, jewellery and stamp collection were worth [pounds sterling]270million. The estimate does not include Buckingham Palace or the Crown Jewels. …