It’s a lot colder where Cyprus’ richest person was actually born.
John Fredriksen, the Norwegian tanker magnate and 87th-richest person in the world — appended his citizenship in 1996 mostly for tax reasons — Cyprus doesn’t tax dividend-based income.
Named of the Bloomberg’s 50 most influential people in markets last year, Fredriksen is said to own a 6,000 square foot penthouse condominium — an alleged image of which you can see here — in Limassol on Cyprus’ southwest coast.
According to a statement from Fredriksen’s spokesman cited by the Economic Times, the mogul’s Cyprus-based firms actually have less than $1 million exposed to Cyprus’ current financial turmoil.
Fredriksen’s story is sort of amazing. Per his Bloomberg profile, he dropped out of high school at 16 and moved to Beirut to trade oil. He later leased boats to the U.S. army as it sent supplies to troops in Vietnam. During the Iran-Iraq war, he organised crude oil shipments for Iran.
He now owns Seadrill — market cap $17.14 billion — and a host of other major shippers.
Just as interesting, perhaps, is that the country’s second-wealthiest individual is ethnically Turkish.
Suat Günsel owns Cyprus’ Near East University in Northern Cyprus. According to Forbes, business at the private institution is booming. But Günsel’s main wealth is tied up in land, Forbes says.
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