Mexicans have long felt the might of Carlos Slim – the tycoon famed for buying on the cheap who has been elevated to the No. 1 spot among the world’s richest people by Forbes. His family’s net worth, built on investments in 200-plus companies, represents 6 percent of Mexico’s total gross domestic product. Slim makes John Rockefeller, whose fortune at its peak was but 2.5 percent of U.S. GDP, look small time. The publicity-shy billionaire cemented his cradle-to-grave hold over his fellow citizens when he acquired the then-monopoly Teléfonos de México from the government in 1990. Whenever Mexicans make a call – or light up a smoke, go out to lunch or drive on a new highway – chances are Slim has a piece of the action.
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