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Ten Swedes make Forbes billionaires list

The Local/rm · 10 Mar 2011, 11:06

Published: 10 Mar 2011 11:06 GMT+01:00

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Persson came in at number 13 in the 2011 Forbes rankings, with an estimated fortune of around $24.5 billion.

Since first being created by Erling Persson in 1947, the H&M clothing empire continues to expand internationally with new stores opened in Turkey and Israel in 2010 and Croatia and Romania planned for 2011.

The younger Persson has led the company since 1982.

His sister Liselott Persson is the third highest-ranking Swede on the Forbes list, coming in at spot 323 with an estimated fortune of $3.4 billion.

Packaging matriarch Birgit Rausing of TetraPak fame is found at number 49 with an estimated fortune of $14 billion, followed by brother-in-law Hans Rausing at number 81 with $10 billion.

Hans sold his part of the Tetra Laval packaging company to brother Gad Rausing in 1995.

In 1980 the company headquarters were moved to Switzerland and the Rausing family has long been based outside of the Swedish borders in an effort to escape the country's high taxes.

Ikea mogul Ingvar Kamprad, who was the highest ranking Swede last year, saw his standing among the global wealth elite drop precipitously.

The head of the flat pack furniture giant fell from place 11 to 162 and now has an estimated fortune measured at a mere $6 billion after lawyers showed that Ikea is owned by a foundation in tax haven Lichtenstein, which Kamprad created and now heads.

The foundation receives royalties tax free on all sales that every Ikea store must pay to the parent company for the right to use the concept.

The foundation is valued at $12 billion, but has so far only paid out $60 million to charity, according to Forbes.

Kamprad now gets his fortune from his investment firm Ikano.

Among the rest of the Swedes featured on the list is Antonia Johnsson at 152 with a fortune estimated at $6.5 billion.

She heads the Axel Johnsson Group, which has interests in everything from energy to telecom and real estate.

Story continues below…

Fredrik Lundberg, the head of L.E Lundberg Företagen and Melker Schorling, the chairman and 85 percent owner of Melker Schorling AB, share place 393 with $2.9 billion each.

Security giant Gustaf Douglas, with $2.6 billion, finds himself in spot 440, while hedge fund operator Thomas Sandell comes in at place 1057 with a comparatively modest $1.1billion.

The world’s overall richest person for the second year running is Carlos Slim Helu of Mexico, worth an estimated $74 billion, followed by IT mogul Bill Gates with $56 billion.

The Local/rm (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:23 March 10, 2011 by Nemesis
A suggestion.

Add up how much tax those Swedes have paid in tax, compared to their earnings.

If it does not work out as the same percentage as the rest of us, we should all sue for discrimination.
13:47 March 10, 2011 by Mib
@Nemesis I doubt they live in Sweden, so the answer is probably zero tax in Sweden. For me, I don't mind thse type of people having so much money as they have created very large businesses enhancing Sweden's reputation and paying lots of taxes via their employees income taxes, corporation tax, Moms etc.

What needs to be done is for politicians to close the tax loopholes in their own countries and treat the non-domicial tax havens as an entity which attracts high duty penalties for exports from the EU for example and high import duties. That way you strangle the entities that are depriving billions in taxes. But, these issues have been raised before and still the corruption goes on. Only recently has secret accounts in Lichenstein etc have been revealed in some istances as a result of the credict crunch.

14:28 March 10, 2011 by americanska
@mib, most likely the company is not based out of Sweden so they wouldn't be paying corporate tax either. They would be paying Swedish coporate tax on maybe 5% margin of revenue sold to the customer in Sweden, so nothing compared to the coportation overall..... international accounting regulations, gotta love em.

On the plus sie, the more money they keep from the tax man, the more their business can expand and employ more people and drive down prices through competition.
15:36 March 10, 2011 by Swedesmith
In the US press this morning, I read that the wealthiest people in the world have added over a trillion dollars to their combined portfolios this year. The #1 richest man in the world is Carlos Slim Helu who is worth 53.5 billion and #2 is Bill Gates who has to contend with a measly 53 billion.

Meanwhile, in the Wisconsin, the legislature has voted to end the unions' rights to collective bargaining. To the south, in Illinois, the age of teacher retirement has now been bumped up to age 67.

The rich get richer and the poor get the shaft.
17:31 March 10, 2011 by frey
(he said in a mocking tone) all hail lebanon slim !
17:49 March 10, 2011 by mkvgtired
Swedesmith, it only covers PUBLIC employee unions. Because of the inherent conflict here I agree with this. Taxpayers have been getting the shaft by these thugs for decades now. They wait for a democratic congress (state) and then just ask for more money and benefits. And no one objects because union members almost exclusively vote for democrats.

I live in Illinois, and teachers almost never work until 67 (I know several). I wish Illinois would crack down on its public employee unions but I dont see that happening any time soon. Private unions are controlled by market forces. Look at Detroit. Most of its manufacturing has left because of the unions. US and foreign companies (Hyundai, BMW, Mitsubishi, etc.) open up shop in the South where people are more than happy to have the jobs. The employees are treated well and the company doesn't have to deal with the us versus them mentality that unions promote. Win win for everyone, customers, employees, companies. Everyone except unions that is.
18:00 March 10, 2011 by Happy_Niklas
I wonder if these guys have paid the same tariff like a 'common man'............
18:03 March 10, 2011 by zircon
Blue sky... smiling at me... Nothing but blue sky do I see...
21:34 March 10, 2011 by Swedesmith
@tired I live in Illinois, too. I pay taxes, too. My salary (I'm a teacher) is at the discretion of the public who doesn't want to pay me squat and yet expects me to "fix" all their children's problems and make them employable. If it wasn't for unions, I would still be making minimum wage. But if you think the teaching profession is so lucrative, go ahead and give it a go. I've put in 30 years and hope to retire in 5 (if the great state of Illinois hasn't totally eliminated my pension). I don't mind the kids, its the public continuously crapping on me that I can't take anymore....
21:51 March 10, 2011 by frey
(he said in a mocking tone) cheese and crackers?
22:49 March 10, 2011 by Trebla
Ten seems like a bunch for a country of Sweden's size. Is there a list of the number of billionaires per million population?
09:35 March 11, 2011 by jackx123
i smell a bit of envy here you lazy butts. get of your azzes and try create something like these guys. my hat of for their accomplishments.
15:46 March 11, 2011 by Bender B Rodriquez
@Nemesis and MiB: Stefan Persson lives in Stockholm and paid about 800MSEK in tax last year. He paid regular capital gains tax. Here is The Local's article about it: http://www.thelocal.se/16322/20081212/ (although that was for 2008 so the amount is a bit lower)
22:06 March 12, 2011 by mkvgtired
@Swedesmith, I give teachers a lot of credit. But the teacher's union is strong enough to protect bad teachers. If anyone should be angry about this I would think it would be hard working teachers. I don't know where you work in IL but I hear much more positive comments about teachers than negative. I dont doubt parents can be a hand full but I think saying the public in general thinks so negatively of teachers is wrong.
23:23 March 14, 2011 by philster61
As long as you live in Sweden. Your money is never really your own. Like all Scandinavian Billionaires, there is no way they would live in Scandinavia.
23:25 March 14, 2011 by mojofat

"I think saying the public in general thinks so negatively of teachers is wrong."

Well, clearly except for conservative, republican politicians. It's absurd that americans stand by and allow this radical ideology to continue to pillage the public treasury for the benefit of the rich elite and corporations. Wisconsin is exhibit #1, but the whole country is following. It's a country that doesn't value education, as if everyone simply prays to Jesus everything will be alright...or the number of holes we drill in the ground is directly correlated to how much oil we can produce domestically. Unions aren't always necessary, but we should not legislate away people's right to organize. Since when is that american?

Now, for this so-called "swedish" billionaires. If they no longer live in Sweden or pay taxes in Sweden, can they really be claimed as swedish? This Kamprad is a real piece of work too...I have no idea why Sweden would want to claim him. Nazi sympathizer, maker of junk furniture, and clearly sheltering his money because he can't afford to part with even a kronor of his tens of billions.


"On the plus sie, the more money they keep from the tax man, the more their business can expand and employ more people and drive down prices through competition."

Then by your logic the perfect tax rate would be 0%. Also, by your logic, the more money a company makes the more they're incentivized to hire people and invest in building the business, but of course this is incorrect. We have 50 years' worth of productivity per employee data to verify that...business make more money AND squeeze more productivity out of their employees. Where does the extra money go? Dividends, bonuses, executive perks, etc. It's wholly appropriate for a corporation to pay its fair share of taxes to pay for the roads their employees and delivery truck drivers use to get to the company every day, for the electric grid they use, etc. etc.
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