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Fortune Billionaire List Swells With 32 New Entries For 1989

August 23, 1989 GMT

NEW YORK (AP) _ A one-time fruit peddler from Taiwan and indicted junk bond pioneer Michael Milken were among the newest members of the world’s billionaires club, according to estimates released Tuesday by Fortune magazine.

Tsai Wan-Lin, 64, the son of a poor Taiwanese rice farmer whose holdings include insurance, hotels and soy sauce makers, ranked sixth on Fortune’s 1989 list of the world’s billionaires. His was the most dramatic entry among the 32 newcomers to the list.

The same five individuals or families who topped last year’s list also led the 1989 ranking, the magazine reports in its Sept. 11 edition, due on newsstands Wednesday.

The sultan of Brunei, who presides over the small oil-rich nation in the South China Sea, remained the world’s wealthiest man with an estimated fortune of $25 billion, the magazine said.

King Fahd of Saudi Arabia and his family were next with $18 billion, followed by Forrest E. Mars Sr. and the Mars candy-bar clan, which is estimated to be worth $12.5 billion.

Tsai and his family ranked sixth with estimated wealth of $9 billion. Tsai owns 65 percent of Cathay Life Insurance, which Fortune describes as one of the highest-flying stocks on the inflated Taipei stock market.

Milken, 43, the former head of Drexel Burnham Lambert Inc.’s junk bond operation who is awaiting trial on federal charges of racketeering and securities fraud, is worth an estimated $1.2 billion, Fortune says. That was only good enough to put him in 125th place.

Ranked fourth after the Mars family was the world’s richest woman, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, who is worth an estimated $10.9 billion compared with $8.7 billion last year, Fortune reported.

Fifth on the list were New York-based publishing magnates Samuel I. Newhouse Jr. and Donald E. Newhouse, worth an estimated $10 billion.

Wal-Mart Stores mogul Sam Moore Walton, of Bentonville, Ark., was seventh with $8.9 billion; the Reichmann brothers - Albert, Paul and Ralph - whose Ontario-based Olympia & York is the largest owner of New York City commercial real estate, were eighth with $8.4 billion; British real estate tycoon Gerald Grosvenor was ninth with $6.9 billion; and Kenneth Roy Thomson, who controls Canada’s Thomson Newspapers Ltd., was ranked No. 10 with estimated wealth of $6.9 billion.

The list swelled to 157 members this year with the addition of 32 new members, while five fell off the ranking. The list included individuals and immediate families with net worth Fortune estimates at $1 billion or more.

Among other newcomers were Carl C. Icahn, the takeover strategist who also is chairman of Trans World Airlines Inc. and worth an estimated $1.2 billion; Turner Broadcasting System Chairman Ted Turner, $1.3 billion; Kirk Kerkorian, helped by the sale this year of MGM-UA Communications Co., $1.1 billion; and Ronald O. Perelman, chairman of Revlon Inc., $3.2 billion.

Of those on the list, there were 58 in the United States, 54 in Europe, 23 in Asia, including 11 Japanese, and 22 others.