France is home to world’s richest woman

France is home to world's richest woman
Principal shareholder and heiress of L'Oréal Liliane Bettencourt is the world's richest woman Photo: AFP
Two French tycoons have made it into the the annual American-dominated Forbes rich list, it was revealed on Tuesday, including L'Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, who can lay claim to the grand title of the world's richest woman.

In securing the title of the richest woman in the world the heiress and principal shareholder of cosmetics and beauty giant L’Oréal, Bettencourt, was the only female to make it into the top ten of the 2013 Forbes list. At the grand old age of 90 Bettencourt, whose fortune is estimated to be worth around €30 billion was also the oldest person in the top ten.

She is joined in the pantheon of the world's most loaded people by her compatriot the CEO of luxury brand LVMH (Louis Vuitton Möet Hennessy) Bernard Arnault, who scraped tenth place with his estimated fortune worth 29 billion dollars.

However in dropping down from his position as fourth in the 2012 list it seems Arnault has not had as good a year as he might have hoped. 

With French tycoons taking ninth and tenth place, France was the second most dominant nation in the top ten.    

However this might not last.

Arnault may be flying the flag for France this year but by next year he could be representing different colours all together after making a controversial bid for Belgian citizenship last autumn.

The mogul has denied he is seeking tax exile status from France but continues to cause uproar in his native country after it emerged earlier this year he had  transferred 'almost all' his wealth to Belgium.

French luxury goods mogul Francois Pinault also featured in the top hundred securing 53rd place with a net worth of $15 billion and compatriot Serge Dassault, who made his fortune in aviation, made it to 69th place with $13 billion. 

Mexican magnate Carlos Slim was the world’s richest person for the fourth year running, with his fortune estimated at an incredible $73 billion. He is followed by Microsoft former chief executive Bill Gates with has a handy $56 billion to fall back on if times get hard.

The most dominant continent represented on the list was Asia, which is home to 608 billionaires. There were 440 from the North America and 324 in Europe.

Forbes top ten richest people in the world 2013:

1. Carlos Slim – $73 billion
2. Bill Gates – $67 billion
3. Amancio Ortega – $57 billion
4. Warren Buffet – $53,5 billion
5. Larry Ellison – $43 billion
6. Charles Koch (ex-aequo) – $34 billion
6'. David Koch – $34 billion
8. Li Ka-Shing – $31 billion
9. Liliane Bettencourt – $30 billion                                                                      

10. Bernard Arnaud – $29 billion

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