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7/5/2007
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Bill Gates Passed By Mexican Telecom Tycoon As World's Richest Man

Carlos Slim's total worth reportedly now stands at about $62.9 billion; Bill Gates is only worth about $59.2 billion.

Mexican telecom tycoon Carlos Slim has surpassed Bill Gates as the world's richest man, according to a financial Web site based in Mexico. Following big gains in his investment portfolio, Slim's total worth now stands at about $62.9 billion, says Sentido Comun. By contrast, Microsoft founder and chairman Gates is currently worth about $59.2 billion.

Sentido Comun originally reported that Slim was worth $67.8 billion, but on Wednesday published a corrected figure after being contacted by a spokesman for the Mexican billionaire.

The title of world's richest man is hardly set in stone, as day-to-day stock swings can have a big impact on the rankings. In 2004, a Swedish magazine pegged Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad as the planet's wealthiest individual.

Slim is the majority investor in America Movil, Latin America's largest mobile telecom operator. Its share price has climbed 26% in the last three months. Another company in Slim's portfolio, Telmex, has seen its stock jump 11% over the same period.

Slim also owns numerous other concerns -- from banks to construction companies -- throughout Mexico and South America. Gates hasn't been as fortunate from an investment perspective in recent months. Microsoft's shares are currently trading at roughly the same price at which they began the year -- about $30. Gates is the company's largest individual investor, though his holdings are down to about 8% of Microsoft's common stock.

Slim's ascendancy to the top of the world's financial pyramid bumps Berkshire Hathaway whiz Warren Buffet to third place.

According to an entry on Wikipedia, Slim was born in Mexico in 1940 to parents of Lebanese origin. His father reportedly worked as a shopkeeper.

In 1990, Slim led the buyout of Mexican telecom giant Telmex from the Mexican government. He was formerly on the board of directors at Altria and SBC Communications.

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