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- 01/06/14--06:42: _The Beanie Baby Bil...
- 01/13/14--06:53: _Rupert Murdoch Just...
- 01/14/14--05:00: _Beanie Babies Creat...
- 01/22/14--08:16: _Sheryl Sandberg Is ...
- 01/25/14--16:31: _Inside The Billiona...
- 02/02/14--03:16: _EXPOSED: These Lond...
- 02/05/14--09:54: _Real Estate Billion...
- 02/06/14--06:31: _A Russian Billionai...
- 02/10/14--08:12: _Here Are The Americ...
- 02/11/14--08:50: _Prince Alwaleed: I ...
- 02/12/14--13:04: _Rupert Murdoch Took...
- 02/13/14--12:57: _How One Woman Built...
- 02/14/14--09:02: _Seagram Billionaire...
- 02/19/14--07:16: _What It's Like Runn...
- 02/19/14--17:32: _RAGS TO RICHES: Wha...
- 02/20/14--08:30: _ HEDGE FUND BILLION...
- 02/20/14--08:49: _16 Billionaires Who...
- 03/01/14--05:00: _The Fabulous Life O...
- 03/03/14--06:12: _Introducing The 15 ...
- 03/03/14--10:43: _The 21 Richest Peop...
- 01/13/14--06:53: Rupert Murdoch Just Sold This Gorgeous Yacht For $29.7 Million
- 01/14/14--05:00: Beanie Babies Creator Is About To Be Sentenced For Tax Evasion
- 02/10/14--08:12: Here Are The Americans Who Gave The Most Money To Charity Last Year
- 02/12/14--13:04: Rupert Murdoch Took A BuzzFeed Quiz And Got Himself
- 03/01/14--05:00: The Fabulous Life Of Tech Billionaire Marc Benioff (CRM)
- 03/03/14--06:12: Introducing The 15 Richest Billionaires In Tech
- 03/03/14--10:43: The 21 Richest People In Retail
H. Ty Warner, he of Beanie Baby fame, is trying to avoid prison time for evading taxes on secret Swiss bank accounts that held over $100 million, Bloomberg's David Voreacos reports.
Warner, the billionaire founder of the once-mega popular toy, faces 46 months to 57 months in prison. His lawyers argue that his behavior was essentially no different from other tax evaders who have gotten probation.
In 2009, Warner's Swiss bank, UBS, turned over a trove of client names (including Warner's) to the Justice Department as part of a deal with the U.S. government, Bloomberg reports. Then the IRS rejected his application for its "voluntary disclosure program" on the grounds that they already knew about Warner's Swiss accounts before UBS gave them up.
In pleading guilty, Warner admitted to opening an account at UBS in 1996 and transferring $93.6 million in 2002 to Zuercher Kantonalbank, a small Swiss bank.
He filed a false return in 2002 that reported income of $49.1 million, while omitting his UBS income of $3.2 million. He also didn’t file a Treasury Department form called a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, known as an FBAR. He amended his 2002 return in 2007, yet still understated his tax by $885,300.
In pleading guilty, Warner acknowledged that from 1999 through 2007, he underreported his gross income by $24.4 million.
Warner's sentencing is scheduled for January 14.
Rupert Murdoch has found a buyer for his yacht, Rosehearty, says The Telegraph. He put the vessel on sale three months after filing for divorce from his ex-wife, Wendi Deng.
The yacht itself boasts 5 cabins and some pretty amazing toys like water skis and full sets of diving gear.
Murdoch has said that the sale has nothing to do with divorce, he merely works too much. Apparently Wendi use it a fair amount though.
The vessel was sold by Alex Lees-Buckley in Monoco's Camper & Nicholsons office.
This is the Rosehearty, she's almost 138 feet long.
This is one of the five guest cabins aboard.
The boat accommodates about 12 guests.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
CHICAGO (AP) — The billionaire creator of Beanie Babies steps before a federal judge Tuesday to learn if he'll have to spend up to five years behind bars for evading taxes on $25 million in income.
H. Ty Warner's sentencing will also give him a chance to apologize at length for hiding his millions in Swiss bank accounts.
The 69-year-old apologized and wiped away tears when he pleaded guilty last year. But the judge in Chicago stopped him and said he could explain himself fully at sentencing.
Defense attorneys argue for probation, pointing to Warner's unhappy childhood and his charity work.
But prosecutors say Warner should spend some time in prison; they don't recommend how much.
A government filing says about Warner's philanthropy: "Charity is not a get-out-jail card."
Congratulations are in order for Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, who officially became a billionaire yesterday after Facebook's stock closed at a record high.
At 44, she is now own of the youngest billionaires in the US, and one of the youngest female billionaires in the world, according to the Bloomberg Millionaire Index.
Sandberg owns about 12.3 million shares of Facebook, which closed at $58.51 yesterday. Her stake is valued at about $750 million. Sandberg also owns about 4.7 million stock options and has collected more than $300 million selling shares since the company's initial public offering.
Here's a chart from Bloomberg Billionaires' Twitter account that shows how Facebook stock has performed since the company's IPO:
He has designed some of the biggest and most spectacular yachts ever to set sail and can offer just about anything a seafaring billionaire's heart desires – from tennis courts to personal submarines, waterfalls and even special stability features for those prone to feeling a little bilious on the high seas. But most of superyacht designer Ken Freivokh's clients are primarily concerned with where the telly's going to go as they sit on their $100m-plus yacht cruising the Caribbean or the Med.
"The tricky ones are clients that come and say, 'I want a big boat with a big saloon and a very big TV', and they're almost not interested in the rest," said Freivokh, who designed the £90m, 88-metre, three-mast Maltese Falcon owned by hedge fund billionaire Elena Ambrosiadou.
Freivokh, who has made millions designing yachts for world leaders and businesspeople, said he "finds it weird" that many of his customers are preoccupied with watching television while sailing among paradise islands.
Last week he was in London, at a glitzy superyacht party in the five-star May Fair Hotel, to tempt more billionaires to splash out on the ultimate badge of wealth. "Some of the things people aspire to make total sense; some of them make a bit less sense to me," he said.
Freivokh said some clients, such as Tom Perkins, the billionaire US venture capitalist and experienced sailor who originally commissioned the Maltese Falcon, were adventurous and exacting. But other members of the super-rich set just want a yacht to complete their sweep of trophy assets.
"If the guy just has the money and already has the aeroplane, and he has cars and houses and now he wants a yacht and it's not totally clear what he needs on it, it makes it harder for us to respond," Freivokh said.
Advances in naval architecture and materials mean Freivokh can create "pretty much anything" if the client has unlimited imagination. Usually, they don't, he said, "but, hopefully, they have unlimited money".
Recent imaginative commissions include a 145-metre "exoskeleton" yacht, while the owners of the Mövenpick hotels empire commissioned a one-off design for a seasickness-proof yacht.
Freivokh's answer to that request was a 41m "penthouse apartment" which floats above the waves on four torpedo-like structures. "It's all panoramic views, all the real estate is incredible, and [there's] no seasickness because it's very stable." That boat is 4.5 times as long as a London Routemaster bus, but it would look like a dinghy floating next to some of the largest superyachts on the water.
Roman Abramovich's Eclipse, which boasts 24 guest cabins, two helicopter pads, two swimming pools and a missile defence system, is 162.5 metres long and was the world's largest yacht when it was launched in 2010.
But the Eclipse has been eclipsed. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the emir of Abu Dhabi and the president of the United Arab Emirates, is shortly to take delivery of Azzam, a 180-metre German-built yacht. The boat was built in Bremen by the 139-year-old family-owned Lürssen shipyard.
Peter Lürssen, the chief executive and great-grandson of the founder, Friedrich Lürssen, refused to confirm that Sheikh Khalifa was the buyer of the yacht, saying only that it is being delivered to a "rich Middle Eastern family".
Azzam, which cost a rumoured £400m, took 1.5 million working hours to build and its teak decks are big enough to cover half a football pitch.
"There's a decent-sized main cabin, nine guests cabins, a few saloons, a dining room – it's not outrageous," Lürssen said of the yacht. "This is the best family escape you can have." The family will be joined by 60 crew, including chefs, engineers and "hostesses".
Lürssen has been building yachts for the rich and famous for decades and is the company behind Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's Octopus, Media tycoon Barry Diller's Eos and entertainment executive David Geffen's Rising Sun and Pelorus.
Its main rivals in the superyacht industry are Blohm & Voss in Hamburg, builder of U-boats and the Bismarck , which is creating a futuristic "exoskeleton" yacht, with a fluid, web-like structure, with prize-winning architect Zaha Hadid, and Italy's Fincantieri, which made the 134-metre Serene for Russian vodka tycoon Yuri Scheffler.
Gary White, co-founder and chairman of yacht brokerage firm Y Co, said superyacht sales were "very buoyant, but only in the very high end. At that level, you are really talking billionaires – whether they run countries or the world's largest companies."
He said superyacht owners were, however, becoming younger and more adventurous. "Some clients want to cruise the world to some amazing places with a marine biologist onboard. And some clients want to party on the beach in Saint-Tropez."
White said that while "only a privileged few" can buy a superyacht, he is trying to "get our message across to the public that it is affordable" to charter a superyacht for a summer holiday.
That would be those members of the general public who can hand over £35,000-£40,000 a week, but White says: "That's affordable if you're spending a week with four friends. Waking up in a different place every morning is an extreme luxury and should be experienced by those that can."
Azzam and Eclipse are not available for charter, but Serene is – for anyone with a holiday budget of £3.1m a week, not including food, drinks, mooring fees and tips.
This article originally appeared on guardian.co.uk
A thick crust of bird droppings is piled on the gilded balustrade of one of Britain's most expensive properties. Pigeon skeletons lie among shattered mirrors and water streams through broken cornicing. This is The Tower, a £30m palace in "Billionaires Row" in north London whose spectacular ruin has been kept secret until now.
It is one of 10 mansions in the middle of The Bishops Avenue – the heart of London's spiralling property market – that have stood almost entirely vacant since they were bought a quarter of a century ago, it is believed on behalf of members of the Saudi Arabian royal family. Their Grecian columns are cracking into pieces and mosaic-tiled swimming pools are filled with rubble. Nature has taken over to the extent that owls have moved in.
It is a desolate scene repeated up and down the supposedly prestigious avenue that Lloyds Bank has calculated is the second most expensive street in Britain. While more and more people struggle to get on to London's property ladder as house prices rise at 11.2% a year, the Guardian has established that 16 mansions on the most expensive stretch of The Bishops Avenue are sitting empty, many behind padlocked gates, with their windows shuttered with steel grilles and overgrown grounds patrolled by guard dogs.
Across the street from the former Saudi properties stands another derelict mansion worth £18m with smashed windows and walls coated in anti-climb paint. Metal grilles block the windows of another believed to belong to a Middle Eastern owner through a Channel Islands company which has been "sold on behalf of receivers" for £20m.
But that doesn't stop the prices going up. Dryades, a mansion until recently owned by a Pakistani politician, sold for £12m in 2007 and is believed to be worth about £30m today. Heath Lodge, the scene of the 1984 murder by silver bullet of fashion tycoon Aristos Constantinou, is worth £13m today after having been sold in the late 1970s for £400,000.
The dereliction can be agonising for people struggling to keep a roof above their heads in one of the world's most expensive cities. One security guard working on the avenue said he had only recently been homeless and it was exasperating to see so many tens of thousands of square feet of property – enough to house dozens of people – falling apart. "How do you let something like this go to waste?" he said. "You wouldn't, would you?"
Over the last half a century this curving road near Hampstead Heath has become a haven for the winners and losers of numerous geopolitical shocks. Royals flushed with oil wealth from Nigeria and Saudi Arabia were among the first to come. Iranians fled here after the fall of the shah. Now Chinese househunters are following Russians and Kazakhs who have spent millions securing an address estate agents tell them is as world famous as the Champs Elysées and Rodeo Drive. This week two mansions were on sale for £65m and £38m, promising endless Italian marble, leather-padded lifts and luxury panic rooms. Roaring Lamborghini sports cars and Bentley limousines negotiate the constant traffic of construction vehicles refurbishing mansions.
The avenue is home to Princess Al Jawhara bint Ibrahim Al Ibrahim, widow of Saudi Arabia's late King Fahd, and Richard Desmond, owner of the Express newspapers. But its hidden reality is exposed most clearly in the wrecks of the 10 mansions sold last October for a combined £73m.
Land Registry records show the portfolio was assembled between 1989 and 1993, around the time Saddam Hussein's sabre rattling in the Gulf threatened the House of Saud. The deal on the boltholes was brokered by Rafic Hariri, the future prime minister of Lebanon, who at that time was working as a Saudi envoy, sources familiar with the transaction say. Five identical mansions were snapped up for £1.5m each along with the palatial Tower – built on the site of the former home of the 1940s Hollywood star Gracie Fields – and three neighbouring mansions. But after Saddam was beaten back, the Saudis let dilapidation take hold.
The waste is spectacular. In the grounds, stone fountains crumble and lawns have become bogs. Inside the Georgian mansion water drips through a huge crystal chandelier on to a thick carpet rotting under sections of collapsed ceiling. Moss grows through shattered bricks and mirrored tiles are scattered across a bathroom. An odour of fermentation pervades neighbouring Redcroft and the only signs of life are an old and jammed Arabic Olympia typewriter and a hotel-style sign warning: "Visitors may be asked to submit to a search of person or baggage by security staff." The swimming pool is filled with a foot of brackish water and has flowers growing through its tiles. Wooden slats bulge away from the sauna. Behind the rotting ranch-style shutters of Ilkley House, a tiled peacock remains intact in the pool house but dead plants droop from hanging baskets. A sheaf of invoices reveals a £7,314.54 order for kitchen equipment made in September 1992 including a Robot Juicerator, teak salad servers and a melon baller.
But it is the wreck of The Towers, a grand mansion set in acres of hornbeams, oaks and limes, that is most dramatic, with its huge, high-ceiling halls occupied by pigeons and its walls turned bright green by algae as water pours through three storeys and plinks into a vast, empty basement swimming pool. Unopened wooden crates marked "bullet proof glass" reveal the security fears of the previous owners.
The properties have now been bought for £73m by LJ Capital, an investment fund which intends a major redevelopment. It has appointed Harrison Varma, a local developer, to oversee the scheme, which is the subject of talks with the local authority to allow the construction of flats as well as mansions, because it believes smaller serviced apartments will be better occupied and help bring the avenue back to life.
Today, very few people live on The Bishops Avenue full-time. A security guard patrolling the pavement outside one mansion confirmed it was owned by "someone from Brunei", but said they were not at home. Another in a designer uniform outside Royal Mansion, owned by a Kazakh-born property billionairess, declined to say if anyone was home, while a member of staff at Saudi-owned mansion simply warned the Guardian about the guard dogs. But Magdy Adib Ishak-Hannah, an Egyptian-born private healthcare mogul whose personal wealth is £45m, said he was in the minority of permanent residents.
"It's not a neighbourly place where you can chat over the fence," he said. "To be honest I have never seen what my neighbours look like. Next door a Saudi princess spent £35m a new house and I've never seen her. There are about three houses that are lived in 24/7 and half of the properties are occupied three to six months a year. The other half, who knows if they come or not?"
The multimillion-pound wrecks are evidence of a property culture in which the world's richest people see British property as investments. One Hyde Park, a block of apartments in Knightsbridge, is another example where more than half the flats are registered with the council as empty or second homes.
Nevertheless, the talk on the avenue is about building £5m apartments instead of £50m mansions in an effort to draw people back.
Anil Varma, a local property developer, has decided to rebuild one of the most valuable sites on the avenue as a collection of 20 apartments with a concierge, maid service, 25-metre pool, spa and cinema. He believes the local authority should relax conservation area rules to allow more apartments such as his Buxmead scheme.
"If you build a big house and try and sell for £30m to £40m it won't sell," he said. "Locals won't buy and so you have to bring in overseas buyers."
Andreas Panayiotou, a boxer turned property developer whose fortune is estimated at more than £400m, has been trying to sell Heath Hall next door to the site for £65m for well over a year. It came on to the market in August 2012 at £100m. He completely refitted the 15-bedroom Arts and Crafts-movement mansion, originally built for William Lyle of Tate & Lyle to include hand-carved marble baths and an oak-clad snooker room.
"It used to be the Arabs buying trophy assets but not moving in, but now you have a lot of new money coming in," Panayiotou said. "Over the last 20 years it was the elite that bought these properties and a lot didn't live in them but might come over two or three weeks a year. There was so much money that these houses were being left behind. In the last 10 years people are starting to live in the road."
Firoz Kassam, the former owner of Oxford United Football Club, last year spent close to £30m on three properties which he is planning to turn into three mansions and five apartments. "Everyone wants to be bigger and better than next door so they pull down the buildings and start again," he said. "It has always been like that and it shows no sign of changing." Kassam said to leave houses derelict "is no good for anybody, but it is hard to see what you can do".
Cross the road from the rotting Tower and Jersey House feels a million miles away. The electronic gates swing open on a rebuilt £38m, seven-bedroom mansion with silk carpets and limestone floors. The suited housekeeper turns on ambient music and reveals a six-metre-high hall with shimmering bauble chandelier. A fur is tossed over a chaise longue to create a Downton Abbey ambience.
"Buyers have a celluloid image of Britain in their minds and when they come they want to live the dream," explains Trevor Abrahmsohn, the 59-year-old estate agent who has sold more homes on the avenue than anybody else. "The more things there are that give them instant gratification, the better."
Everything from the leather-clad lift to the vast master bedroom with its three dressing rooms and three bathrooms is "reassuringly expensive" he says. The master bedroom is in fact one bedroom, three dressing rooms (two of which are fitted out in his and hers styles) and three bathrooms. The staff quarters is a self-contained flat that would delight any first time buyer.
In the basement is a swimming pool, gym and spa, while there is a cinema on the first floor and there are two kitchens – one built to catering standard that could serve a small hotel and another more for show. Books are scattered around like heavy hints: The Richest of the Rich and The Villas of the Riviera.
"Everything is extraordinary about it," said Abrahmsohn of The Bishops Avenue. "You can buy a home with multiple acres of land 15 minutes from the centre of London. It is a cross between a dacha and a town house."
The trend for foreign ownership has snowballed to the point that more than half of the 55 properties on the most expensive stretch are now registered to offshore companies or foreign owners. But the prospect of the avenue's empty property being used to help solve the housing crisis remains distant.
A Conservative councillor, Andrew Harper, whose ward covers the avenue, laughed when asked whether some of the derelict housing could become affordable homes. He said the land price would be prohibitive.
"Very wealthy people own property there," he said. "Sometimes they live in them and sometimes they don't". Asked whether leaving homes vacant for decades was acceptable, he replied: "That's their prerogative. It is difficult to imagine what one would put in place to force things to be different to how they are."
This article originally appeared on guardian.co.uk
Real-estate billionaire Sam Zell, the co-founder of Equity Group Investments, defended Tom Perkins' letter and comments this morning on Bloomberg TV in an interview with Betty Liu.
Last month, legendary venture capitalist Tom Perkins wrote a controversial letter comparing today's treatment of the ultra-rich (a.k.a. the 1 percent) to Nazi Germany targeting the Jews during World War II. Later, Perkins defended his letter and bragged about his $380,000 watch on Bloomberg TV afterwards.
When Liu asked Zell this morning about Perkins' letter, he responded, "I guess my feeling is that he’s right. The 1 percent are being pummeled because it’s politically convenient to do so."
Here's part of the transcript from the interview:
LIU: Let me ask you about Tom Perkins because you are part of the 1 percent. You are clearly part of the 1 percent. Tom Perkins came out with this – with this letter where he defended the 1 percent and he said, look, we are being persecuted the same as the – as the Nazis were persecuting the Jews. And he was just lambasted and he came on our network and defended it. How did you feel when you read that letter and when you heard his comments?
ZELL: I guess my feeling is that he’s right. The 1 percent are being pummeled because it’s politically convenient to do so. The problem is that the world and this country should not talk about envy of the 1 percent. It should talk about emulating the 1 percent. The 1 percent work harder. The 1 percent are much bigger factors in all forms of our society.
LIU: But Sam, tell that – tell that to the person who’s on minimum wage who’s living below the poverty line that they should try to emulate the 1 percent. How are they going to get there?
ZELL: The stories are rampant of people who started with a candy store and took it from there. There are lots of people who have the ambition and have the motivation and have succeed. Lots of people have come from nowhere and become part of the 1 percent.
Watch the full interview below:
Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska is financing a dog shelter's effort to stop the culling of strays as the Olympics begin, says the NYT.
Thousands of stray dogs live in Sochi, and government authorities say they are wild and dangerous. That is why, according to animal rights activists, authorities have ramped up efforts to exterminate them ahead of Friday's opening ceremony.
From the NYT:
“We were told, ‘Either you take all the dogs from the Olympic Village or we will shoot them,’ ” said Olga Melnikova, who is coordinating the rescue effort on behalf of a charity called Volnoe Deloe (roughly, Good Will), which is financed by Oleg V. Deripaska, one of Russia’s billionaire oligarchs.
Deripaska has already used his resources to finance the Olympics to the tune of $1.38 billion, according to Forbes. He is the CEO of Basic Element, an investment holding company with investments in everything from metals (especially aluminum) to airports. The Sochi airport, in fact, is one of his main contributions to the Olympic project.
Forbes estimates that Deripaska's net worth at $8.5 billion.
Philanthropists were especially generous in 2013.
According to The Chronicle of Philanthropy's annual list, the 50 biggest donors in America donated $7.7 billion in 2013, a 4% increase over the previous year. The median gift was $86.1 million, and 82 causes received gifts of $1 million or more.
Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan have quickly ascended to the top of The Chronicle's list. After giving away $498.8 million last year, they doubled their charitable donations to close to $1 billion in 2013.
Zuckerberg, 29, and Chan, 28, are also by far the youngest donors on the list, which skews much older than last year's. The median age of the philanthropists was 72.5.
We're looking at the top 25 donors on this year's list; check out the complete list at The Chronicle of Philanthropy.
#25 Frank McCourt
Amount donated in 2013: $100 million
Net worth: n/a
Beneficiary: Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
Background: Frank McCourt founded McCourt Global, a real-estate development and private-equity firm, in New York and Los Angeles. He graduated from Georgetown in 1975 with a degree in economics. His father, both brothers, and one of his four sons are also Georgetown alumni.
Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy
#24 David Koch
Amount donated in 2013: $101 million
Net worth: $36 billion
Beneficiary: New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York, N.Y.
Background: David Koch is the executive vice president of Koch Industries, an industrial conglomerate founded by his father, Fred Koch. He's served as a member of the New York-Presbyterian Hospital's Board of Trustees for 25 years. He and his brother Charles are also known for their large donations to the Republican party.
Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy
#23 Stephen Schwarzman
Amount donated in 2013: $103 million
Net worth: $7.7 billion
Beneficiary: Tsinqhua University in China and other groups
Background: Stephen Schwarzman is co-founder and chairman of the Blackstone Group, an investment firm.
Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Prince Alwaleed, Saudi Arabia's self-proclaimed Warren Buffett, has seen his fund, Kingdom Holdings, return 52% since Sept. 5, when it hit a 52-week low.
And the prince has told Bloomberg that there's more where that came from.
“We have hidden treasures, lots of rich assets that aren’t publicly traded,” Alwaleed, 58, said by phone from Crans-Montana, Switzerland, where he was vacationing with his family. “They are worth more than $11 billion to $12 billion, and the market could value them at more than double that.”
His big winners recently have been Twitter, the Fours Seasons, and Chinese e-commerce retailer JD.com Inc. It's the second biggest e-commerce site in China and is considering an IPO.
Alwaleed owns 95% of Kingdom Holdings and has said since the company went public in 2008 he hasn't sold a single share. He's chasing Warren Buffett, his idol, but says that despite his recent success he won't be catching up to the Oracle of Omaha any time soon.
Alwaleed's openness about his wealth has not quieted the doubters, though. Last year, Alwaleed severed ties with Forbes' Billionaires List, saying that the publication's reporters gave Kingdom Holdings undue, biased scrutiny.
That prompted a brutal take down from Forbes reporter Kerry Dolan, who wrote:
Of the 1,426 billionaires on our list, not one–not even the vainglorious Donald Trump–goes to greater measure to try to affect his or her ranking. In 2006 when FORBES estimated that the prince was actually worth $7 billion less than he said he was, he called me at home the day after the list was released, sounding nearly in tears. “What do you want?”he pleaded, offering up his private banker in Switzerland. “Tell me what you need.
Since then, Alwaleed had been shooting down tales about him and his fund left and right. Most recently Kingdom Holdings put out a press release dispelling the rumor that he owns a diamond-encrusted Mercedes Benz, and charged people $1,000 just to touch it.
The whole rumor was silly really, considering that the car was only worth a couple million. Just a drop in Alwaleed's bucket.
Rupert Murdoch, billionaire CEO and very serious man, took BuzzFeed's 'Which Billionaire Tycoon Are You?' quiz. His chief of staff Tweeted it out this afternoon.
This means one of two things: BuzzFeed quiz's are actually designed for titans of capitalism or that the titans of capitalism are just like you and me.
Oh, and for what it's worth, I just took it and I got George Soros.
Check out the tweet below:
"This was a piece of dirt," Jennie Enterprise said over lunch in her flawless dining room at Manhattan's CORE: club.
"I found out who owned the dirt."
Since opening in 2005, the CORE: club on East 55th Street has become a gathering space for the world's most transient species — millionaires and billionaires. For them, CORE: is a second home (or office, or gym, or theater, or art gallery, or dining room). It is not a place to merely play squash and see everyone you know; it is a place to conduct the business of life.
Enterprise, the club's founder, designed it that way. She turned that "piece of dirt," an empty space in Midtown Manhattan, into a stage where the world's dealmakers can play out their own dramas. That's how she tells it.
"Everyone here understands that every moment is a live or die moment," said Enterprise. Her staff is trained to understand how that moment could vary from member to member.
Hedge fund manager Mark Lasry, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, former Microsoft Chief Technology Officer Nathan Myhrvold all pay the $50,000 initiation fee and $15,000 annual membership fee for access to the club's facilities and its most important resource: its members.
If you meet Enterprise, you get the sense that she could've built the 40-story building (the club takes up six floors, the rest of the highrise houses condos) herself, beam by beam. She has an infectious energy that pushes everything in her presence forward — people, conversations or ideas.
It's probably what drove her, as a 13-year-old from the Bronx, to start a summer tennis camp on Shelter Island as her first job. She made $10,000 in three months.
"To be perfectly candid I wasn't even a particularly good tennis player," she said.
Enterprise broke into the business world in 1991 after cobbling together the people, the dollars, and the plan for what would become The Reebok Club. That's her talent: getting things together and making sure everyone and everything is on the same page.
CORE: club was the perfect outlet for her skills, and it would take every one of them. Enterprise started the project before September 11, 2001, but after that tragedy, funds were scarce. It was a delicate time to approach anyone, especially New York-based investors.
So Enterprise found a different way to fund the club. "Founding members" committed $100,000 each. She set up a war room where she broke down the world's most successful people into 13 industries, from retail to finance to technology. Regardless of the type of business, the internet was creating a new class of entrepreneur that Enterprise knew would prefer the inertia of a club like CORE: over more traditional establishments.
Then she invited them to her space — a space in which every corner was constructed to serve an architectural purpose. The invitation was hand-delivered in the form of a white box, care of one of the founding members who had connections with those who were invited.
"I knew that if something represented innovation to them, they would pay attention," Enterprise said over a simple plate of scrambled eggs. She had already had a few meetings over meals that day. From her perch in the corner of the dining room, she was as much a part of the scene as she was observing it.
"I have my finger on the pulse of interesting, accomplished people that are changing the world," said Enterprise.
And in hosting them, she gets to learn from them too. That's what really feeds her.
This is what you see when you walk into the CORE: club.
The screening room is also on the ground floor. Last month, Hank Paulson was there giving a talk about the newest documentary on his role in the financial crisis. Hollywood makes an appearance too. George Clooney and Ed Norton have hosted screenings at CORE:, just to name a few.
The foyer before the screening room. CORE: has a program of 200 different events per year.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Charles Bronfman, one of the richest Canadians in business with a net worth of $2 billion, just sold his Fifth Avenue full-floor apartment to hedge fund manager and fellow Canadian David Goel, according to the New York Post.
The sale price was $19.9 million.
Bronfman inherited his significant fortune when his father left the Seagram wine and spirits empire to him and his brother Edgar. Since Vivendi bought Seagram for $34 billion in 2000, Bronfman has focused on philanthropy. He serves as one of the main benefactors for the Taglit-Birthright Israel, which sends Jewish youth from North America on educational tours of Israel.
The sixth-floor home Bronfman sold to Goel at 810 Fifth Avenue has views of Central Park, three bedrooms, four bathrooms and a library.
Serena Boardman at Sotheby's International Realty handled the sale.
The apartment at 810 Fifth Avenue has views of Central Park
The full-floor apartment has 11 rooms total.
It has two wood-burning fireplaces.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
It seems like private banking never gets any respect – whether on this site, in random stories you read online, or even in interviews for other jobs.
But as one commenter last time around rightly pointed out, there are a lot of interesting groups and offices operating in the space… IF you look in the right places.
While it will never be as analytical as, say, a quant hedge fund role, private banking can still offer you rewarding work that requires thought and creativity.
The only catch is that you’ll probably have to join a family office to get that kind of exposure.
Our interviewee today knows all about private banking at both large banks and family offices, and he’s going to break it down and tell you all about the trade-offs of both environments.
He also made the most unusual career transition we’ve featured on the site, moving into finance from a professional soccer (OK, “football” if you’re outside North America) background.
Here’s how he did it, and what private banking is like at family offices vs. bulge bracket banks:
Breaking In: How to Set a Stop Loss in Your Personal Life
Q: Your story. Let’s hear it.
A: Sure. Back in university, I was torn between going into finance and making a run at becoming a professional soccer player.
I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do within finance, so I ended up taking a 3-month long PB / PWM internship that turned into a 9-month internship (which lasted until I graduated).
The firm really wanted me to come back, but I didn’t want to give up on being a professional athlete at that stage.
So I moved to South America and lived and worked there for over 2 years, making money by playing soccer and then working part-time in PB / PWM roles at various banks, mostly in Argentina.
I set a “stop loss” for myself and decided that I wouldn’t stick around unless I could see a path to turning pro within 3 years.
That didn’t happen, so I returned back to Miami after my adventure in South America, immediately contacted my old firm, and they hired me back the next day.
I got really lucky because someone had just quit the week before, so I walked in and took advantage of an open position.
Q: They must have really liked you if you pulled that off after a 3-year absence.
What can you tell us about the finance scene in Miami?
A: It’s almost entirely private banking / private wealth management and it has relatively little investment banking.
There are a few hedge funds in West Palm Beach, but not nearly as many as you see in other major cities.
Lots of students here attend the University of Miami or Florida International University, neither of which is a “target school.”
Because of the environment here, plus the fact that I didn’t want the hours and lifestyle that come along with IB, I decided to continue on in private banking.
Private Banking Family Offices vs. Bulge Bracket Banks
Q: You’ve been around the PB scene in Miami for quite some time now – how would you describe the big differences between family offices and bulge bracket banks?
A: The main difference is that large banks have far more clients – 100+ clients per financial advisor is not unusual, and sometimes it’s as high as 300.
Many family offices, by contrast, have 100 clients TOTAL for the entire office – so each client gets far more personal attention.
That happens because large banks require much less money to get started. You can sometimes open PB accounts with as little as $100K USD, whereas some family offices require more like $20 million+ USD.
And there are only a few hundred thousand people (or less) in the US with net worth in that range, whereas tens of millions of people have at least $100K USD to invest.
Some large banks also spend a lot of time selling PB clients on other products and services, such as credit cards, loans, different investment opportunities, and so on, whereas at family offices clients get a customized experience that’s specific to their needs.
The strategies recommended to you are also different – at banks, you see more “traditional” strategies (stocks, bonds, etc.) recommended by the bank’s research department and forwarded to clients.
Smaller family offices, by contrast, have their own dedicated research teams within the office and will cater to exactly what clients are looking for.
Q: Thanks for the overview. How does the recruiting process differ?
I’m assuming that at family offices they care more about analytical rigor and your investment ideas / stock pitches?
A: Yeah, that is one difference. Another is that large banks like to recruit undergraduate interns to help with all the client reporting work that’s required, whereas many family offices barely try to recruit anyone.
That makes it harder to get an “in” at family offices, but it’s arguably easier to advance in the process since the HR person will be closer to the key decision-makers.
At banks, they’re looking for candidates who are really good at speaking with clients and who want to work in a team of other advisers; at family offices, they care less about client relationship skills since you’ll be doing mostly research and analysis when you first start.
Clients at family offices tend to be older than clients at banks, so a lot of the relationship work is left to older, more experienced financial advisors simply because clients take them more seriously.
Finally, licenses are a major difference in recruiting.
Banks care a lot about the Series 7 and Series 66 licenses since you need them to place trades, whereas at a family office it doesn’t matter as much since junior-level roles are research-focused.
It also depends on your location: many clients in a place like Miami will be foreign, so domestic trading restrictions may not apply (as much).
Clients, Clients, and More Clients
Q: You’ve been describing how clients differ at both firm types – what else can you tell us about that?
A: Since family offices are more specialized, you end up doing everything from legal research to tax preparation to estate planning for clients. At a bank, the work is more focused on investment recommendations.
Clients at family offices also tend to be much more conservative because they’ve amassed their fortunes through decades of work, often operating their own businesses. So they care more about avoiding losses and preserving capital rather than earning high returns.
That’s even more pronounced in Miami since many families are from Latin America, which always seems to have currency/economic crises and political instability.
It’s also a matter of net worth: someone worth $20 million USD will care much more about preserving his/her savings, whereas someone worth $100K USD will care more about growing it aggressively.
Q: Do clients pay different fees depending on the private banking group they work with?
A: At most family offices, fees are based on assets under management (AUM) and a 1% flat rate is quite common (Note: This varies, and sometimes larger accounts negotiate the fee down).
So a family office managing $50 million USD for a client might earn $500K in annual fees from that.
At banks, it might be a flat rate, but it could also be commission-based and linked to the trades you make. You’ll also see more “random” expenses, such as annual account maintenance fees.
Bigger accounts at banks often get a flat rate, whereas smaller ones tend to pay commission-based fees since they trade less frequently.
Q: And what about the different roles at both places?
We’ve discussed the relationship manager (RM) vs. investment professional (IP) roles before, but does it still work the same way at family offices?
A: Yes. The main difference is that the roles are less clearly defined at family offices; you’ll still see research teams, relationship teams, and legal teams, but sometimes there’s also a “middle” role that coordinates everything.
And they still have compliance management roles, operations roles, risk management roles, and everything else.
It can be easier to move into different roles at family offices as well – sometimes advisors will move into risk management roles, sometimes administrative staff moves into investment research, and so on.
Q: You’ve also mentioned how foreign clients tend to be more common at family offices.
What are the main differences between foreign and domestic clients?
A: It’s a different world. I split my time between both client types, and they could not be more different.
With domestic clients, you spend a lot of time on trust and estate planning, retirement, IRAs, 401(k)’s, and so on, so there’s a lot of paperwork and you have to complete quite a few mundane tasks.
“Tax emergencies” each April are also common as high net worth clients realize they need to finish a massive amount of paperwork at the last minute.
International clients, by contrast, are more interested in investment ideas and in coming up with unconventional strategies.
Most foreign clients establish holding companies and put their funds in tax havens, so you rarely see the same issues with filing tax-related paperwork all the time.
In Miami, it’s probably a 70/30 split between foreign and domestic clients – but in other parts of the US it’s more like 95% domestic clients.
So make sure you come to Miami if you want to do private banking!
A Day in the Life on the Beach in Private Banking in Miami
Q: The beaches are great, too. And no state income tax!
I’m pretty much sold on moving there, but let’s continue…
What’s an average day in your life like?
A: Sure. Continuing with this theme of PB at bulge bracket banks vs. family offices, the job is generally a bit easier as an analyst at a large bank because you’re working in a team and your role is well-defined.
During the day, you’ll be busy handling calls and client requests, but your overall work hours are a bit closer to “normal business hours.”
At family offices, the work tends to be much more “random” and you never know what will happen in a given day since it depends on what your clients want.
You’ll often stay later as a junior person because a large client might make a last-minute request late in the day, or they might call you at 4 AM and ask for some analysis (international clients love to ignore time zone differences and call whenever it’s convenient for them – one disadvantage of working with them).
Once you reach the top of the ladder and become a financial advisor (FA), though, your life is generally better at a family office because you have your client list, you’ve worked with them for years, and there’s less turnover (AKA less chasing down new clients) than at large banks.
You’ll see FAs at bulge bracket banks working longer hours and sometimes even working on weekends – part of that is because clients are more tied to you as their specific advisor, whereas at a family office their loyalty is more to the office as a whole.
Q: Let’s talk about money. Where do you make the most?
A: You’ll generally get a slightly higher starting salary at family offices – think $50-60K USD vs. $40-50K USD at a large bank (these are Miami figures and are likely different in other regions).
Keep in mind that Miami is about 50% cheaper than NYC, so it’s perfectly reasonable to live on that salary here.
Your bonus could be much bigger at a large bank since bonuses are awarded on a team-wide basis and aren’t tied as closely to your individual performance.
As you move up and start developing your own client list, it gets a lot more lucrative.
Some financial advisors here make up to $400-500K USD per year and have pretty good work/life balance, working just a bit more than the normal 40-hour workweek and pulling in high incomes due to the 1% fee on clients’ assets.
Q: Miami is sounding better and better.
But isn’t it harder to advance at a family office? You mentioned that clients are tied to that office rather than to a specific advisor, so it must be pretty tough to build your own client list.
A: Yes and no. It’s arguably easier to advance and move around to different firms when you start at a large bank, because clients will follow you wherever you go – it’s like being a free agent in sports.
But as FAs at family offices get older and start thinking about retiring, they often “hand off” their clients to younger FAs who want to take over. After decades of earning a high income, they’re not as motivated to keep servicing the same number of clients once they approach retirement age.
Note, however, that you need to be very lucky with the timing to take advantage of this– and you must already know the FA and the client quite well. This is a gradual process, but as you continue to work at a family office they’ll start introducing you to more and more clients and making sure the clients know who you are.
Also note that this “hand-off process” does happen at large banks as well – but again, timing and your relationship with the FA are both critical.
Finally, sometimes the junior people at family offices get hired because they can bring in clients in the first place – so if you’re in that position it can be easier to win new clients via referrals.
Bottom-line: I wouldn’t say it’s “easier” to advance at one firm type vs. the other, it just depends on what skills you come in with and what you’re looking for.
Q: Awesome, thanks for explaining that.
So far, you’ve made family offices sound like a better option than bulge bracket banks, at least for private banking.
But is that what you’d recommend for everyone interested in the field? Or are some people better off at large banks?
A: It depends. If you’re more interested in research, analysis, and coming up with investment ideas, family offices are better (in my opinion).
But if you’re more of a “people person” and you enjoy the client relationship side, large banks may be a better option.
You also get potentially better exit opportunities at a large bank since you get the brand name on your resume, plus a large network of co-workers.
Going to a family office is more of a “long-term” move where you need to stay for many years to realize the full benefit. You shouldn’t work at one if you’re planning to stick around for only 1-2 years and then leave.
Q: Great! Thanks for your time, this was super-informative.
A: My pleasure! Make sure you check out Miami sometime, too.
WhatsApp co-founder, Jan Koum, 37, was born in Ukraine. He arrived in the U.S. when he was just 16 years old and his family struggled. They lived on food stamps, venture capitalist Jim Goetz revealed in a blog post.
In fact, Koum's family picked up their food stamps only a couple of blocks away from WhatsApp's offices in Mountain View, Calif., reports Wired's David Rowan.
Flash forward to today, when Facebook announced it was buying WhatsApp for a stunning $19 billion in cash and stock. Even if the deal falls through, axed by regulators, Facebook has agreed to pay WhatsApp $2 billion in cash and stocks.
Forbes estimates that Koum holds about a 45% stake in the company, while his co-founder Brian Acton’s stake is estimated at over 20%.
That would make Koum worth $6.8 billion and Acton worth a at least $3 billion as of Facebook’s closing share price on Wednesday.
From food stamps to billionaire, that's an incredible journey.
Tom Steyer has the exemplar Wall Street resume— Phillips Exeter Academy, Yale undergrad, Stanford MBA, Goldman Sachs, hedge fund magnate.
But these days Steyer — who has an estimated $1.5 billion fortune — spends his time doing non-billionaire things, like chilling out in San Francisco and driving a hybrid Honda Accord.
More than that, Steyer has been "waging political warfare against climate-change deniers, eco-antagonists, and oil-industry sympathizer," according to a new profile from Men's Journal's Joe Hagan.
Most of the article is about Steyer's activism against the Keystone Pipeline, but he also had some rather populist things to say about the financial crisis. From Men's Journal:
When I bring up the controversial role of Goldman Sachs in the 2008 financial crisis, when then treasury secretary Hank Paulson, a former Goldman CEO and a pal of Steyer's, appeared to favor his old firm during the multibillion-dollar bailout, inspiring the 99 percent backlash, Steyer admits that his former employer "got deferential access and deferential outcomes, and that anybody who doesn't get that is a f--king idiot."
It's a surprising populist outburst coming from a former Goldman Sachs man. But in the same breath, Steyer says Paulson did a good job and, all things considered, everything worked out pretty well for the U.S. economy. And anyway, "that's the power of finance in the world," he says, shrugging. "You're fighting city hall."
It's a more candid response than you'll hear from a lot of people on Wall Street.
The American Dream is alive and well.
Facebook's recent announcement that it would buy messaging app WhatsApp for a staggering $19 billion minted new billionaires, including co-founder and CEO Jan Koum who was once dirt poor. Koum's family immigrated to the U.S. from Ukraine two decades ago and lived on food stamps. Today, he's worth an estimated $6.8 billion.
All from humble beginnings, these 16 people not only climbed to the top of their industries but also became some of the richest people in the world.
These rags-to-riches stories remind us that through determination, grit, and a bit of luck anyone can overcome their circumstances and achieve extraordinary success.
Jan Koum, the CEO and co-founder of WhatsApp, once lived on food stamps before Facebook made him a billionaire.
Net worth: $6.8 billion (according to Forbes)
Koum, 37, came to the U.S. from Ukraine when he was 16 years old. His family, struggling to make ends meet, lived on food stamps that they picked up a couple blocks away from Koum's future WhatsApp offices in Mountain View, Calif. In 2009, he and co-founder Brian Acton launched the real-time messaging app with an aim to connect people around the world. It essentially replaces text messaging.
Now with 450 million global users, WhatsApp recently agreed to a $19 billion buyout from Facebook. Koum is expected to make the most from the deal. Forbes estimates he has a 45% stake in the company, giving him a net worth of $6.8 billion. He's come a long way from his modest beginnings.
Kenny Troutt, the founder of Excel Communications, paid his way through college by selling life insurance.
Net worth:$1.7 billion (as of Sept. 2013)
Troutt grew up with a bartender dad and paid for his own tuition at Southern Illinois University by selling life insurance. He made most of his money from phone company Excel Communications, which he founded in 1988 and took public in 1996. Two years later, Troutt merged his company with Teleglobe in a $3.5 billion deal.
He's now retired and invests heavily in racehorses.
Starbucks' Howard Schultz grew up in a housing complex for the poor.
Net worth:$2 billion (as of Sept. 2013)
In an interview with British tabloid Mirror, Schultz says: "Growing up I always felt like I was living on the other side of the tracks. I knew the people on the other side had more resources, more money, happier families. And for some reason, I don’t know why or how, I wanted to climb over that fence and achieve something beyond what people were saying was possible. I may have a suit and tie on now but I know where I’m from and I know what it’s like."
Schultz ended up winning a football scholarship to the University of Northern Michigan and went to work for Xerox after graduation. Shortly after, he took over a coffee shop called Starbucks, which at the time had only 60 shops. Schultz became the company's CEO in 1987 and grew the coffee chain to more than 16,000 outlets worldwide.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Next week, Marc Benioff's company, Salesforce.com, turns 15 years old.
He helped invent a a whole new category of tech called "software-as-a-service," where companies rent their software over the Internet, instead of install it on computers.
The concept almost died at birth. Shortly after Salesforce.com launched, the Internet bubble burst.
Benioff persisted, however, and today every major software company is chasing him.
Along the way, Benioff has become one of the most flamboyant, generous, larger-than-life personalities in the tech industry.
He's a self-made billionaire
He's worth about $2.71 billion, according to Forbes. Most of that wealth comes from the company he founded, Salesforce.com, where he is CEO.
But his initial wealth came from running sales and marketing during Oracle's early days, from 1986-1999. He was making $300,000 a year at Oracle by age 26, according to CNN Money.
He owns a 5-acre estate in Hawaii
Benioff famously built a huge compound on the island of Hawaii, the state's largest island. It has six bedrooms, seven full and two half bathrooms, and 9,821 square feet of interior space, according to Honolulu Magazine.
He reportedly bought the land for $12.5 million in 2000 and spent years designing it, even launching his own construction company to build it, reported the Wall Street Journal back in 2006.
He loves Hawaii so much, he used to wear Hawaiian shirts to work. He signs his emails and annual report "aloha," and named his golden retriever "Koa" after a type of Hawaiian tree. Koa has a job title at Salesforce, too: the CLO (chief love officer).
His friends include everyone from Deepak Chopra to Stevie Wonder
Benioff is a new-age guy who loves yoga and meditation. But he also lives the life of a rock star.
He's been known to hang with: MC Hammer, Richard Branson, David Bowie, Uma Thurman, Colin Powell, Billy Graham, the Dalai Lama, and Zen monks in Kyoto.
When he threw a fund-raiser for President Obama at his San Francisco home, his friend Steve Wonder wrote a special song and sang it at the party, USA Today reported at the time.
Benioff was also invited to Deepak Chopra's daughter's wedding.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Forbes just released its annual billionaires list, which highlights the richest people all around the world.
This year, WhatsApp co-founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton made the cut. But with net worths of $6.8 billion and $3 billion, respectively, they're not even close to the richest people in tech.
Here are the top 15 richest tech billionaires in the world:
1. Bill Gates (Co-founder of Microsoft)
Net Worth: $76 billion
2. Larry Ellison (CEO of Oracle)
Net Worth: $48 billion
3. Larry Page (CEO of Google)
Net Worth: $32.3 billion
4. Jeff Bezos (Founder and CEO of Amazon)
Net Worth: $32 billion
5. Sergey Brin (Director of Google X)
Net Worth: $31.8 billion
6. Mark Zuckerberg (Founder and CEO of Facebook)
Net Worth: $28.5 billion
7. Steve Ballmer (Ex-Microsoft CEO)
Net Worth: $19.3 billion
8. Michael Dell (Founder and CEO of Dell)
Net Worth: $17.5 billion
9. Paul Allen (Microsoft co-founder)
Net Worth: $15.9 billion
10. Azim Premji (Chairman of Wipro Limited)
Net Worth: $15.3 billion
11. Charles Ergen (Chairman of Dish Network)
Net Worth: $15 billion
12. Laurene Powell Jobs (largest individual shareholder of Disney)
Net Worth: $14 billion
13. Ma Huateng (CEO of Tencent Holdings)
Net Worth: $13.4 billion
14. Robin Li (CEO of China's top search engine, Baidu)
Net Worth: $12.1 billion
15. Shiv Nadar (co-founder of HCL Group)
Net Worth: $11.1 billion
Forbes has released its annual list of the world's billionaires.
We sorted through the rankings to find the richest people in retail, from grocery store king Karl Abrecht to fashion designer Miuccia Prada.
The heirs to the Wal-Mart fortune continue to have the strongest presence on the billionaires list compared to any other family in the world.
Four members of the Walton family rank among the 14 wealthiest billionaires, with their riches amounting to $140 billion — which is more than Bill Gates' and Warren Buffett's wealth combined.
#21 Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen
Net Worth: $10.2 billion
Overall Forbes billionaires ranking: 119
Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen's grandfather founded LEGO, the second largest toy company by sales. He was CEO of LEGO for 25 years before stepping down in 2004. He remains deputy chairman of the company.
#20 Sergei Galitsky
Net Worth: $10.3 billion
Overall Forbes billionaires ranking: 117
Sergei Galitsky is the founder and CEO of Russia's largest supermarket chain, Magnit. Wal-Mart was his inspiration for founding Magnit, according to Forbes.
#19 Stefano Pessina
Net Worth: $10.4 billion
Overall Forbes billionaires ranking: 113
Stefano Pessina is the single largest shareholder of the drug store chain Walgreen Co. He is also the fourth richest man in Italy.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider