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Last Updated: Friday, 11 March, 2005, 09:42 GMT
Forbes rich list at record levels
Martha Stewart surrounded by employees at her eponymous firm
Martha Stewart has gone back to work since leaving jail
The Forbes magazine list of the world's super-rich has increased to a record 691 people with a combined fortune of $2.2 trillion (1.14 trillion).

Microsoft's boss Bill Gates is top of the billionaires' list for the 11th year in a row, ahead of Warren Buffett.

Martha Stewart, the homemaking icon recently released from jail and under house arrest, entered the list for the first time at number 63 with $1bn.

India's Lakshmi Mittal and Ikea's Ingvar Kamprad were in the top ten.

Top ten

Legendary investor Warren Buffett runs the Omaha-based holding group Berkshire Hathaway.

Famous for his long-term investments in what Mr Buffett identifies as undervalued companies, the so-called "sage of Omaha" has delivered decades of above average returns to his shareholders and himself.

Mr Mittal, who lives in London's most expensive residence costing 70m ($134m), has benefited from soaring steel prices. He is ranked third by Forbes, with $25bn.

Ikea's Mr Kamprad, who lives in Lausanne, Switzerland, is sixth, with $23bn.

Despite his continued ascendancy, Mr Gates nevertheless saw his net worth decline slightly to $46.5bn from $46.6bn.

Mexico's telecommunication tycoon Carlos Slim has also entered the top ten list of world's billionaires.

Mr Slim, who is the biggest shareholder in US MCI, has increased his fortune from $13.9bn to $23.9bn, a rise of $10bn in just one year.

Forbes said the highest riser was Mr Mittal, whose fortune increased by $18.8bn to $25bn.

New countries

Bill Gates
Bill Gates (US) - $46.5bn
Warren Buffett(US) - $44bn
Lakshmi Mittal (India) - $25bn
Carlos Slim (Mexico) - $23.9bn
Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud (Saudi Arabia) - $23.7bn
Ingvar Kamprad (Sweden) - $23bn
Paul Allen (US) - $21bn
Karl Albrecht (Germany) - $18.5bn
Lawrence Ellison (US) - $18.4bn
S. Robson Walton (US) - $18.3bn
Source: Forbes

The magazine also said that the US has the biggest number of new entrants this year with 69 new faces, followed by Russia with nine, the UK with eight and Germany with seven.

In the case of Russia, Roman Abramovich has become the country's richest man with a net worth of $13.3bn and the 21st in Forbes global list.

Jailed former Yukos tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky has seen a sharp decline in his fortune in 2004, to $2.2bn from $15bn, after spending the year languishing in prison awaiting trial for alleged fraud and tax evasion.

Forbes magazine said this year 47 countries are represented in the billionaire's list, with new entries from Kazakhstan, Poland, Ukraine and Iceland.

In the case of cities, New York has the highest number of billionaire residents (34), followed by Moscow and San Francisco (20 each); then London and Los Angeles (18 each).

Lakshmi Mittal
Lakshmi Mittal has joined the top ten Forbes world's billionaire list.

Forbes said that 388 of the 691 names in the list were "self-made" billionaires. It also said that the list include 68 women billionaires, seven of whom are self-made, including Martha Stewart.

Forbes said that before the jail term, she had only two groups of fans: loyal buyers of her homewares and publications, and the intelligentsia who admired her marketing skills.

It believes that she now has an opportunity to widen her appeal as many more people have heard of her, but that her positive and negative ratings have not markedly changed.

Ms Stewart was jailed for her role in a share scandal. She served five months in jail and has another five months of house arrest to complete. But this does not prevent her from spending some of her time working and adding to her wealth.

Buffett warns on US trade deficit
06 Mar 05 |  Business
Google pair make billionaire row
27 Feb 04 |  Business
What's next for Martha Stewart?
04 Mar 05 |  Business
Profile: Bill Gates
26 Jan 04 |  Business
America's richest get richer
19 Sep 03 |  Business

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