Politics and money usually go hand in hand. We set out to find the richest and most well-known politicians in the world, past and present, and look under the hood of their bank accounts and investments to see what made them the fortunes they hold dear today. Some had less than we thought they would, while others had much MUCH more than we ever thought possible. Many of the world leaders of today were smart businessmen and women prior to their time in the political sphere, others were born into the wealth that is now under their name.
Today’s political climate is a very heated one at that, which is why there are more and more pieces written about the lives behind the scenes of the politicians we constantly see on the news. Moving away from the countries they represent and zoom into the lives they lead outside of the public sphere, we learn a whole new side of these leaders and who they are when all of the foreign policy and the like are shifted aside. These men and women have children, and had a life before they entered office. Most of these men and women forged their wealthy ways long before they were known to us as the figures they are today.
Some were media tycoons, journalists, soldiers, and finance giants; all of these individuals ended up ruling their respective nations (whether by popular vote of dictatorship), some to this day. The net worth’s of the likes of Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel, Barack Obama, and Kim Jung-Un will make your head spin and your jaws drop, that’s for sure! Head on in to get to know the world’s leaders just a little bit better and see a whole new side of them.
Justin Trudeau: $1.2 million
Position: Prime Minister of Canada
Darling of the international community, Justin Trudeau, is worth a respectable $1.2 million thanks to an inheritance from his grandfather, Charles-Emile Trudeau, who chose Montreal gas stations to earn his wealth in the early 20th century. Since inheriting the money, Trudeau and his family have gotten into the real estate business in addition to his political inclination. Justin is currently married to Sophie and has three children with her.
Benjamin Netanyahu: $11 million
Position: Prime Minister of Israel
Benjamin ‘Bibi’ Netanyahu is the current Prime Minister of Israel and has been elected four times for the position. He has been in politics since completing his schooling at both MIT and Harvard University. His current net worth of $11 million has been earned from his years in office. While $11 million doesn’t sound like much in the grand scheme of things, the Israeli currency is in New Israeli Shekels and has quite an exchange rate with the American Dollar, so in Israel, $11 million goes a lot longer than most.
Angela Merkel: $11.7 million
Position: Chancellor of Germany
Angela Merkel may not be the most loved politician but she has her own way of doing things and is a great example of a powerful woman in a political world dominated by men. Merkel has a personal wealth in the amount of $11.7 million. She has been in the chancellor of Germany since November 2005 and is showing no sign of relieving her position any time soon. Other than being the chancellor, Merkel has been referred to as the de facto leader of the European Union and the most powerful woman in the world.
Barack Obama: $12.2 million
Position: Former President of the United States of America
Obama earned $400,000 a year as the 44th president of the United States. His fortune was earned in a combination of earnings from the US Senate and teaching at the University of Chicago Law School (prior to becoming president), a multi-book deal, book royalties, investment assets, his Nobel Peace Prize award, and his presidential paycheck. Mr. Obama was a very busy man before becoming the former leader of the free world and was increasingly so when he was the acting president for two terms.
Cristina Fernández de Kirchner: $12.9 million
Position: Former President of Argentina
Kirchner is a politician and lawyer who served as the president of Argentina from 2007 until 2015. In terms of how she got her wealth, it had less to do with her and everything to do with the man she married, former Argentinian president, Nestor Kirchner. The money itself is said to be dirty as Nestor was accused of embezzlement, not to mention that a large portion of their fortune (not listed in the amount here) is conveniently missing.
King Harald V: $17.3 million
Position: King of Norway
Harald V is the current acting monarch in Norway. He ascended the throne in January of 1991 and has been reigning ever since. The King was an avid sailor and received many honors and awards for his craft. The fortune that is his net worth comes from the family business of being a part of the European monarchy. The roots of the financial situation is not easy to unfurl but that seems to be how it works in the royal world.
John Key: $38.7 million
Position: Former Prime Minister of New Zealand
John Key was one of the most beloved politicians in New Zealand (as well as the world). He was renowned for his smile and good nature, as well as being one of the most straight forward and least corrupt politicians around (the fact of which makes us very uneasy about all other politicians on this planet). Key made his fortune during the years he spent in the UK working as an investment banker.
Carl XVI Gustaf: $42 million
Position: King of Sweden
Carl XVI Gustaf has been the king of Sweden since his enthronement in 1973. Sweden’s royal family is the wealthiest in Scandinavia. The royal family has $42 million as their personal fortune but also have access to the Royal Palace in Stockholm in addition to the Drottningholm Palace. There are also 11 other palaces sprawled throughout the country that are for the use of the royal family.
David Cameron: $50 million
Position: Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
David Cameron’s massive net worth does not come from his position as the Prime Minister. The majority of his worth is derived from inherited wealth and a familial fortune. The family fortune comes from Cameron’s grandfather, Ewen Donald Cameron, who was the Director at the Stockbroking house Panmure Gordon. His father also worked for the company as a stockbroker and director and established another very successful company. Overall, David came from a lot of money and succeeded in his own way in politics.
Mswati III: $100 million
Position: King of Swaziland
Mswati III became the king of Swaziland in 1986 when he was just 18 years old. He currently rules the country as an absolute monarch and busies himself being the husband of 15 wives and producing 35 children. The incredible fortune that he has is spent lavishly among his family, so much so that the international community and the locals in his region have protested as to the monarch’s spending. The spending is so much of an issue that the New York Times wrote an article about him and his spending, titled “In Destitute Swaziland, Leader Lives Royally.”
Aung San Suu Kyi: $215 million
Position: Chancellor of Myanmar
Aung San Suu Kyi is the first chancellor of Myanmar and has been in the position since April 2016. Aung San Suu Kyi is considered one of the highest-paid politicians in the world. According to People with Money magazine, Aung San Suu Kyi made $75 million between May 2016 and May 2017! Her entire fortune is due to her clever business actions such as investments in stocks, property holdings, and endorsement deals she made with companies such as CoverGirl. She is also the owner of several establishments in Myanmar and the local soccer team.
Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah: $350 million
Position: Emir of Kuwait
When it comes to large sums of money, the Middle Eastern nations have the most (oil, anyone?). The 5th Emir of Kuwait is also the Commander of the Military of Kuwait and has been so since January 2006. The structure is like royalty as he succeeded his father when he ascended the title of Emir. He is Sheikh Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah’s fourth son. He was sworn in by the Kuwaiti Cabinet after a brief dynastic crisis.
Queen Elizabeth II: $450 million
Position: Queen of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms
While her title is a mouthful alone, Queen Elizabeth is the longest reigning monarch in British history and the longest reigning female monarch in the world. Elizabeth has been queen since her ascension in February 1952. The personal net worth of the queen comes from her many years in her position and being a part of the royal family dating back centuries. Elizabeth is also without a doubt the most well-known monarchs in the world.
Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo: $600 million
Position: President of Equatorial Guinea
Teodoro has been the president since August 1979 when he ousted his own uncle for the position in the nation. Today, he is the longest acting leader in Africa, and the longest acting president in the world. His net worth comes from his political and military background, his power in the region is immense and therefore unquestioned. Most of the money in his personal control comes from the national treasury, as he said he would take it in order to prevent civil servants from corruption, only to do so himself.
Qaboos bin Said Al Said: $700 million
Position: Sultan of Oman
Yes, sultans still exist past Aladdin. Al Said rose to power when he overthrew his own father for the title of sultan. He staged a coup back in 1970 that won him the position. With the incredible amount of money that the sultan has, he like to lead a very lavish lifestyle. The sultan has palaces throughout his nation, super yachts at his disposal and anything he should ever wish for himself. $700 million does indeed buy a lot.
Abdullah II: $750 million
Position: King of Jordan
Abdullah II of Jordan is not only a much beloved king but an extremely wealthy man with a personal net worth of $750 million. Abdullah II ascended the throne in 1999 when his father, King Hussein passed away. With his fortune he decided to do many great investments, one of which, and the most surprising one, is his investment in the Star Trek theme park that is part of The Red Sea Astrarium.
Behgjet Pacolli: $900 million
Position: Former President of the Republic of Kosovo
Pacolli was president of Kosovo from 2011 until 2014. He made his incredible fortune building his construction and engineering business Mabetex Group. He has property all over the world and investment in local and foreign trade. He is the richest man in Kosovo to this day and has always stated that he will do everything in his power to make Kosovo a nation to content with in the European economic market.
Albert II: $1 billion
Position: Prince of Monaco
Prince Albert II is worth the astonishing $1 billion that are marked here thanks to several brilliant investments, being a part of the Monaco royal family and real estate endeavors. Albert is the head of the Princely House of Grimaldi, wherein the net worth lies. Albert owns vast amounts of land in France and Monaco, adding to his immense fortune. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s the son of Grace Kelly herself.
Nursultan Nazarbayev: $1 billion
Position: President of Kazakhstan
Nazarbayev has been the president since 1991 (also known as the fall of the USSR). He has been under the microscope on charges of corruption, which doesn’t surprise us one bit, especially since he is worth $1 billion. The allegations came to light in 1999 thanks to a New Yorker piece about a Swiss bank that discovered $85 million in an account that was supposedly Nazarbayev’s. The money in question was supposed to be for the Kazakh treasury; hence the corruption allegations.
Bashar Al-Assad: $1.5 billion
Position: President of Syria
One of the most hated men in the world, Bashar Al-Assad, President of Syria, is responsible for the Syrian crisis that has been going on for several years now, leading to the refugee crisis around the world. Despite his abhorrent behavior and leadership skills, Assad is a very wealthy man. His money is held off of Syrian land and has attempted to be located and frozen to no avail. His money is held in Russia, Hong Kong and other offshore tax havens. The money comes from the Assad’s owning somewhere between 60-70% of Syria’s assets (land, companies, and licenses for import and export).
Sebastian Pinera: $2.5 billion
Position: Former President of Chile
Sebastian Pinera was the president of Chile from 2010 until 2014. His personal wealth of $2.5 billion is a result of founding the credit card company Bancard back in 1976. Upon becoming president in 2010, Pinera sold 26% of his stakes in LAN, the Chilean airline, for $1.5 billion in addition to selling the television channel Chilevision to Time Warner for $150 million. Pinera also sold his share in Blanco & Negro, the nation’s soccer team.
Mohammed VI: $2.5 billion
Position: King of Morocco
Mohammed’s massive $2.5 billion fortune came partly from his 35% stake in Societe Nationalte d’Investissement (SNI) that has it’s hand in some of the world’s greatest companies. Mohammed ascended the throne on Morocco in July 1999 and has been the reigning monarch since. Much like many of the other rich leaders on this list, he has also had corruption allegations brought up against him due to a leaked cable from Washington that said so.
Hans-Adam II: $4 billion
Position: Prince of Liechtenstein
Prince Hans-Adam has a personal wealth of $4 billion from his ownership over LGT banking group. The family fortune stands at $7.6 billion while his own personal one stands at $4 billion. He is one of the richest heads of state int he world and Europe’s wealthiest monarch. His money is spent, among other things, on a vast art collection that is on public display at the Liechtenstein Museum in Vienna.
Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum: $4 billion
Position: Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates
Mohammed assumed office in the position of prime minister in February 2006. His business oriented mind has brought significant growth to Dubai and has made it the international city that it is fast becoming. With the amount of money that the prime minister has as his personal fortune ($4 billion) it is no surprise that he owns yachts and has incredibly expensive hobbies.
Kim Jong-Un: $5 billion
Position: Supreme Leader of North Korea
It’s no secret that Kim Jong-un is one of the worst people on the planet. He is known for his violent tendencies and his iron fisted dictatorship over North Korea and its people. Kim’s $5 billion fortune comes from the country’s funds which should go to the people but in fact are spent on Kim’s lavish lifestyle. Kim is known for spending his money of alcohol, yachts, and importing luxury goods for his own use.
Silvio Berlusconi: $7.38 billion
Position: Former Prime Minister of Italy
Silvio Berlusconi’s incredibly impressive net worth comes from his days as a media tycoon and the owner of the Italian soccer team AC Milan. Berlusconi has been named one of Italy’s richest men for decades now and it all has to do with his smart business acumen in the media empire he launched years ago. Berlusconi has a reputation for having quite the wandering eye, which is why he has been married twice and divorces just as many times.
Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan: $15 billion
Position: President of the United Arab Emirates
What do you do when you are worth $15 billion? You buy a yacht for $622 million is what you do! Honestly, that many billions is coming up on endless amounts of money so buying a mega-yacht such as the one he bought makes a lot of sense. Nahyan has been the president since November 2003 and in his late 60s, is showing no sign of stepping down any time soon.
Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud: $18 billion
Position: King of Saudi Arabia
Salman is the king of one of the richest nations in the world (thanks to the amount of oil found on Saudi Arabian land). Salman only got the title of king in 2015 when his brother passed away and the line of succession rested on him. He is currently in his early 80s so he is probably going to enjoy this whole king thing a lot before he kicks the bucket.
Hassanal Bolkiah: $20 billion
Position: Sultan of Brunei
Bolkiah is worth $20 billion. That kind of money got him the planet’s largest private residence, housing 1,800 rooms, endless amounts of the best cigars, his own private 747-400, incredibly luxurious car collection, and he may or may not have had a lady stay with him for one purpose and one purpose only, if you catch our drift. Classy.
Bhumibol Adulyadej: $30 billion
Position: Former King of Thailand
Adulyadej sadly passed away in October 2016, but we honor him on this list as being one of the wealthiest leaders in the world. During his lifetime and reign as the king of Thailand, Adulyadej had a reputation as a man who was beloved by his people (whether this was a forced statement or not remains to be seen). He also had his wealth handled by an outsourced company that made him a lot of money. His hobbies included jazz, guns and sailing.
Vladimir Putin: $70 billion
Position: President of Russia
Vladimir Putin is one of the most feared men in the world. Russia has been a sore spot for the American government since before the Cold War and ever since. Today’s political climate isn’t much better, but we are here to cover Putin’s wealth, not his political goals. Putin’s net worth has always been a question and the $70 billion we are stating here is the lower end of the spectrum of those who are left guessing. Putin, a former KGB agent, is said to have earned his massive fortune from various company holdings (mostly in oil companies) and real estate ventures.
Source: Forbes, The Richest, Celebrity Net Worth, Thrillist.