Billionaire blowups of 2008 | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 01, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, January 01, 2009

Billionaire blowups of 2008

Dozens of the world's wealthiest lost billions in recent months, but these ten distinguish themselves for some of the biggest flops, according to a Forbes report.
It was a dreadful year for the world's wealthiest as markets and currencies around the world tumbled.
More than 300 of the 1,125 billionaires the business magazine tallied on its annual list last March have since lost at least $1 billion. Several dozens lost more than $5 billion.
The 10 richest from the 2008 rankings dropped some $150 billion of wealth, dragged down by steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal, estranged brothers Mukesh and Anil Ambani and property baron KP Singh, who together dropped $100 billion. America's 25 biggest billionaire losers of 2008 lost a combined $167 billion.
But even in such an awful year, the stories of a few billionaires and now former billionaires stand out as particularly dreadful.
Take David Ross, one of the UK's most successful entrepreneurs. Earlier this month, Ross notified four public companies in which he was a major shareholder and director that he had borrowed against his shares to fund real estate investments that had soured.
He will likely have to sell some of those stakes to pay off his debts. So far he has resigned from three of the four boards and stepped down from his post as an Olympics adviser. His fortune, which we estimated at $1.4 billion in March, is now worth about $150 million.
Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson, former chairman and a large shareholder in Landsbanki, Iceland's second largest bank, saw the firm seized in October as the worst of the credit crisis tore through the island nation. The failure wiped out his $1.1 billion fortune. He has since had to put his holding company, Hansa, into voluntary liquidation and is selling his UK soccer team, West Ham.

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