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Five Cypriots – three from Haji-Ioannou family – on Forbes billionaire list

Stelios Haji-Ioannou

Five Cypriots have made their mark on the Forbes World’s Billionaires 2016 ranking.

In first place for Cyprus is John Fredriksen with an overall ranking of 133.

Branded as “the Norwegian shipping king” Fredrksen, now 71 has a Cypriot citizenship and a net worth of some $9 billion. He is involved in the shipping industry and offshore drilling.

In next place, to no surprise comes Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, aged 49 ranking 1,275 on Forbes’ list. Known for his rise to success with budget airline easyJet and Stelmar shipping company, his net worth is $1.46bn.

The Haji-Ioannou family comprise the most of the Cypriots on the list, as the third richest Cypriot is Stelios’ brother Polys.

At the age of 56 Forbes puts him at number 1,367 with a $1.3bn net worth.

“Following a 2013 conflict between Stelios and management regarding the purchase of new aircraft, the Haji-Ioannou siblings sold 200,000 shares each in protest,” Forbes said.

This brings in the sister Clelia which the magazine says “is a billionaire thanks to her stake in cut-price carrier easyJet.

“Along with brother Polys, the three Haji-Ioannou siblings own some 33% of the company, despite a 2013 dispute with easyJet’s board that caused the family to cut its stake by 600,000 shares.”

With a net worth of $1.09bn and aged 45, her overall rank on the list is 1,577.

Tied in the same spot is Turkish Cypriot Suat Gunsel, aged 63 who according to Forbes owns the largest university in the occupied areas Yakin Dogu (Near East) University.

“The majority of his wealth comes from the university and from the hospital, bank, hotel, gas station, plastics and cable production companies he owns under the same name.”

In September 2013, he invested $30 million to build the largest mosque in Cyprus and opened three new hospitals last year in Kyrenia, Famagusta, and Morphou.


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