17 Lebanese Tycoons Made It On Forbes’ 2020 Billionaire List

Like every year, Forbes has released its “Real-Time Billionaires” list. And, like every year, Lebanese tycoons made it to the list. From the top of the list to the bottoms, these Lebanese have been securing a warm seat in Forbes’ list for years.

“Forbes’ Real-Time Billionaires rankings track the daily ups and downs of the world’s richest people,” Forbes explained. It also confirmed that the wealth-tracking is based upon the net worth of each individual reported by Forbes to be a billionaire.

It is worth noting that last year’s list of 2019 had 20 Lebanese tycoons, including Gilbert Faghoury ($7.4 billion) who did not make it to this year’s list.

It is also noteworthy that the list does not contain any Lebanese woman, except for the Brazilian wife of late Lebanese banker Edmond Safra, Lily Safra.

The richest Lebanese tycoons and billionaires with Lebanese descendants cited for 2020 (from the high to low) are:

#1 Carlos Slim Helu and Family ($47.7 B)

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Also the richest man in Mexico, the Lebanese-Mexican businessman tops Lebanon’s richest personalities. Helu and his family control Latin America’s biggest mobile telecom firm America Movil. He is the 16th richest man in the world

He was the first to introduce a phone company in Mexico with Telmex in 1990. Telmex is now part of the thriving America Movil. Helu also owns 17% of The New York Times and has stakes in Mexican constructions, consumer goods, mining, and real estate companies.

Helu was the richest man in the world in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013. He was only outranked by Bill Gates in 2014 and reigned on the throne of number 5 in the year 2019 with a net worth of $64 B.

#2 Joseph Safra ($20.4 B)

Joseph Safra is the richest banker in the world. He has preserved the dynasty and legacy of his brother Edmond Safra and the whole Safra family for decades. He has gained $3 B from last year, according to the Forbes’ list.

Safra owns Banco Safra in Brazil, the 8th largest bank in Mexico, and J. Safra Sarasin in Switzerland. He also owns 50% of banana grower Chiquita Brands International; the other 50% is owned by Brazilian orange juice billionaire Jose Cutrale.

#3 Tom Gores ($5.7 B)

Tom Gores may not sound like a Lebanese name, but his birth name Tewfiq Gergious does because he is. Gores is the founder of the Platinium Equity firm, a private equity firm founded in 1995.

The Lebanese-American investor began his career by stocking shelves at his father’s small grocery store in Flint. You might know Gores best from sports, as he became the owner of Detroit Pistons of the National Basketball Association (NBA).

#4 Tony Tamer ($4 B)

Tony Tamer may not have scored a place in the 2019’s Real-Time Billionaire Forbes, but he sure did now in 2020 with a $4 billion net worth, making him the fourth richest man with Lebanese origins in the world.

Tamer is the co-CEO of HIG Capital, a private equity firm with $34 billion under management. He co-founded the private equity firm in 1993 with another Lebanese businessman, Samer Mnaymneh.

#5 Taha Mikati ($2.2 B)

The Mikati brothers are known in Lebanon for their wealth and billions. Taha has co-founded, along with his brother Najib Mikati, Beirut-based holding company M1 Group.

M1 Group investments include stakes in South African telecom firm MTN, fashion retailer Pepe Jeans, and prime real estate in New York, London, and Monaco. They have also expanded their business in Africa by building cellphone towers.

#6 Najib Mikati ($2.2 B)

Unlike 2019, the Mikati brothers held separate rankings in Forbes’ list instead of a joint place. Najib Mikati has served twice as Lebanon’s Prime Minister in 2011-2014 and in 2005 in a caretaker government.

Mikati is the wealthiest self-made billionaire in the Middle East. He and his brother Taha founded Investcom in 1982, selling satellite phones at the height of Lebanon’s civil war.

#7 Alec Gores ($2 B)

Alec Gores is the brother of Tom Gores, both from the Lebanese Gergious family. He, too, did not rank in last year’s Forbes list but holds a steady spot in the year 2020 list.

Gores founded tech firm Executive Business Systems in 1978 and used the proceeds from selling that company to launch his private equity career, The Gores Group.

Alec and Tom worked together at the beginning of their professions but parted in 1995 to pursue separate careers.

#8 Bahaa Hariri

Three of the Hariri’s remain solid assets in the Real-Time Billionaires Forbes list, with Bahaa Hariri topping the Hariri game. Bahaa has inherited most of his fortune from his late father, former Lebanese prime minister Rafic Al-Hariri.

Bahaa has founded the real estate company Horizon Group, with investments in Beirut and Amman, Jordan. He also owns the majority of Globe Express Services, a logistics company found in more than 100 countries.

#9 David Nahmad ($1.9 B)

The Lebanese Jewish Monégasque art dealer David Nahmad is perhaps the “single biggest buying force in fine arts.” With his family, David holds modern and impressionist arts worth more than $3 billion.

The Nahmad’s stockpile of arts is stored in a duty-free warehouse in Geneva, Switzerland. According to Forbes, David also trades a currency and stock portfolio worth more than $300 million

#10 Manuel Moroun and Family ($1.6 B)

Losing $400 million since 2019, Manuel Moroun is still the 10th richest man from Lebanese descendants in the world. Moroun’s biggest investment is his ownership of Detroit’s Ambassador Bridge, the largest border crossing between the U.S. and Canada.

He is also the CEO of holding company CenTra and other family-held transportation and logistics companies.

#11 Ezra Nahmad ($1.5 B)

Ezra Nahmad is the brother of the aforementioned David, who is too an international megadealer of modern and impressionist arts. Ezra and David trade their owned arts mostly in auctions.

Some of these arts they hold are Monet, Matisse, Renoir, Rothko, and Picasso. According to Forbes, among their holdings: 300 Picassos, worth at least $1 billion.

#12 Robert Mouawad ($1.5 B)

Robert Mouawad, a child of diamonds and jewels, has inherited the family’s eponymous high-end jewelry business from his grandfather in 1980. He is the owner of the famous Mouawad jewelry stores in Beirut and the Arab Gulf.

In 2010, Mouawad retired to focus on his real estate business and turned over management to his three sons.

#13 George Joseph ($1.5 B)

George Joseph has succeeded in leading a triumphal life for 98 years. At the age of 98, Joseph is the founder of Mercury General, an insurance provider with $3.5 billion in annual revenues.

He was born in 1921 and raised in the midst of the Great Depression by his Lebanese-descendants family. He also owns 34% of a publicly-traded insurance firm.

#14 Alvaro Saieh Bendeck ($1.5 B)

Alvaro is the 14th richest man of Lebanese origins in Lebanon and the 4th richest man in Chile. He is the largest shareholder of Chilean financial firm Itau CorpBanca.

Itau Corpbanca was born after the merger of two financial firms, Alvaro’s Corpbanca and Itau in 2016. He built CorpBanca after buying Chile’s Banco Concepcion in 1995.

#15 Ayman Hariri ($1.3 B)

The second Hariri in the list of the Real-Time Billion, the Lebanese tycoon is also the son of the former Lebanese prime minister Rafic Al-Hariri. He, too, has inherited a state in his father’s business, which he sold later on to his brother Saad Hariri.

Ayman is the cofounder of Vero, an ad-free social media platform that lets users share music, videos, and photos. He also is an investor in startups through Red Sea Ventures, a New York-based venture capital company.

#16 Alfred Harp Helu ($1.1 B)

Lebanese-Mexican businessman Alfred Helu is the cofounder of stock brokerage Acciones y Valores de Mexico, also known as Accival. Helu is also the chairman of Grupo Financiero Banamex-Accival (Banacci) after Accival merged with Mexican bank Banamex in 1991.

The Lebanese tycoon owns two Mexican baseball teams: Los Diablos Rojos of Mexico City and Los Guerreros of Oaxaca.

#17 Fahed Hariri ($1.1 B)

Ending our Real-Time Billionaire Forbes with a third Hariri sibling who has also followed his other two brothers’ steps of selling his stake of his father’s inheritance to Saad Hariri.

Fahed is an investor in Lebanese banks, including Bank Audi, and in real-estate in New York, Paris and Monte Carlo. He is also developing residential buildings in Beirut.