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Bill Gates tops Forbes list of billionaires, Trump slides

US President Donald Trump has slipped more than 200 spots in the Forbes magazine annual list of the world’s richest people. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates led the rankings for the fourth year in a row.

Donald Trump's net worth shrunk to $3.5 billion (3.2 billion euros) in the latest Forbes list of the world's billionaires, published on Monday. That's about a third of the amount the mogul-turned-politician claimed to have while campaigning for the US presidency.

Trump, who ranked number 205 last year, fell to number 544 on the 2017 list. Forbes said in a statement that the slumping New York real estate market was one reason for the slide.

"Forty percent of Donald Trump's fortune is tied up in Trump Tower and eight buildings within one mile of it," the business magazine said. "Midtown Manhattan real estate is down; therefore, so is Trump's fortune."

Forbes said Trump's $66 million in campaign spending, as well as the $25 million used to settle Trump university lawsuits, had also put a dent in his wealth. Last May, Trump's team filed a personal financial disclosure form claiming his net worth amounted to more than $10 billion. Critics, who have accused Trump of exaggerating the value of his fortune, say he must release his tax returns to provide a clearer picture of his financial status.

Amazon Jeff Bezos (Getty Images)

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the biggest winner of 2017

More billionaires in 2017

Bill Gates maintained the number one spot in the Forbes list for the fourth consecutive year, with his $86-billion fortune increasing from last year's $75 million. Warren Buffett, the chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, came in second place. His net worth surged to $75.6 billion from $60.8 billion.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos moved up to number three with the biggest gain of anyone on the planet, adding $27.6 billion to his $72.8 billion fortune.

Amancio Ortega, founder of Spanish clothing chain Zara, was at number four, while Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg moved up to number five for the first time.

In 2017 there were 2,043 people with 10-figure-fortunes, according to Forbes - the biggest number of billionaires recorded in the 31 years that the magazine has compiled the list.

The US had 565 billionaires, China was second with 319, and Germany was third with 114.

L'Oreal cosmetics shareholder Liliane Bettencourt, at number 14, has the highest ranking of the 227 women on the list.

nm/kms (Reuters, AFP)

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