Kellner still richest Czech

Forbes magazine compares Andrej Babiš to Donald Trump

There was no real surprise in who the richest Czech is. The annual Forbes magazine list once again put Petr Kellner of PPF Group on top. The magazine estimated his fortune at $12.2 billion. This still wasn't good enough to crack the top 100 in the world. He came in at number 105.

Software mogul Bill Gates retained the top spot with $86 billion, followed by investor Warren Buffet with $75.6 billion and online retailer Jeff Bozos in third with $72.8 billion. Eight of the top 10 were from the United States.

“The Czech Republic's richest man, Petr Kellner got his start in the early 1990's selling office supplies,” Forbes states, going through his rise, before adding that he collects modern Czech photography and is the leading sponsor of a library-think-tank for Czech ex-President Václav Klaus.

Politician and entrepreneur Andrej Babiš, who is Czech finance minister and deputy prime minister, was the second richest Czech, coming in at 564th place worldwide with an estimated $3.4 billion. Forbes called him “the Czech Republic's version of Donald Trump” and adds Babiš “was forced to put his agrochemical firm, Agrofert, into a trust in early 2017 to comply with a new Czech conflict-of-interest law that is nicknamed 'Lex Babiš,' or the Babiš Law.” The magazine adds he owns the Michelin-starred restaurant La Paloma in the French Riviera.

The third-richest Czech was Radovan Vítek of real estate group CPI, at 867th place with $2.4 billion. Trivia that Forbes includes for him include that he owns a 260-acre estate in Surrey, England, that formerly belonged to ex-Beatle Ringo Starr.

Oil and gas entrepreneur Karel Komárek was fourth among Czechs and 939th worldwide with $2.2 billion. Forbes states he made his money during privatization and recently entered the American market with a newly established firm that produces methanol, a natural gas product with multiple uses.

A newcomer to the list was Daniel Křetínský, who is chairman and one of the owners of Energetický a průmyslový holding and co-owner of football club AC Sparta Prague. He was fifth among Czechs but 1,030th in the world. “[He] joins the billionaire ranks after selling 31 percent of energy firm EPH for $1.6 billion to a consortium of investors … in 2016,” Forbes said.

The final and sixth Czech to make the list of dollar billionaires was coal baron Pavel Tykač, who came in 1567th worldwide with 1.3 billion. He and his partners specialized in hostile takeovers during the Czech privatization era, according to Forbes. Two Czech coal mining firms that he owns through a Cyprus-based company are his largest current assets.

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