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Ikea's Kamprad still Switzerland's richest

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Ikea's Kamprad still Switzerland's richest
17:32 CET+01:00
Ingvar Kamprad, founder of Swedish furniture giant Ikea, has retained his place atop Switzerland's rich list, with his net worth estimated at up to 39 billion Swiss francs ($42 billion), Swiss magazine Bilan said Friday.

In its annual review of the country's 300 wealthiest residents, Bilan estimated that Kamprad's fortune rose by around 1.0 billion Swiss francs in 2012.

The 86-year-old Swede, who was also listed as the fifth wealthiest person on the planet, did not however keep pace with the 9.0-percent average boost seen by Switzerland's 137 billionaires, the magazine said, estimating their total worth at more than 438 billion Swiss francs.

In October, Kamprad scoffed at the notion he might retire following reports in the Swedish media in September that he planned on passing the baton to his three sons Peter, Jonas and Mathias.

"Oh, I have so much work to do and no time to die," he told Swiss business magazine Bilanz in October.

Despite Bilan's estimates of Kamprad's sizeable fortune, the head of the flat pack furniture giant was only estimated to have a fortune of mere $3 billion by Forbes magazine 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 US business magazine ranked Kamprad 377th among the world's richest people in a March 2012, down from 162 the year before, and 11th place in 2010.

Kamprad, who founded Ikea in 1943 in his home town of Älmhult in southern Sweden, has faced harsh criticism in the past for his ties to the Nazi youth movement during World War II.

He later described the period as the "folly of youth" and "the greatest mistake of my life."

However, the company recently admitted, however, that East German political prisoners were used in the Swedish furniture giant's factories in the 1970s and 1980s.

AFP/The Local

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