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The World's Top 10 Billionaires

4. Bernard Arnault

Net Worth: $41 billion UP
Source: LVMH
Citizenship: France

The Lord of Luxe easily retains title of richest European. Fortune surged by $13.5 billion as shares of his luxury good outfit, LVMH, rose by more than half over the past year thanks to strong demand for luxuries like Dom Perignon champagne, Cognac Hennessy, Tag Heuer watches and Louis Vuitton accessories, particularly in Asian markets like Shanghai and Ho Chi Minh City. The group acquired 20 percent of Hermes last year; Arnault insists he is a friendly shareholder but Hermes sees it as hostile. In March the Bulgari family transferred its majority holding in its brand to LVMH in exchange for LVMH shares and board seats. LVMH fired Christian Dior designer John Galliano after he apparently made anti-semitic remarks. Renaissance man also owns yacht builder Royal Van Lent, a hotel in Courchevel; has stakes in French retailer Carrefour and French tour operator Go Voyages.

(ERIC PIERMONT/AFP/Getty Images)

More from Forbes:

The World’s Richest Women Billionaires 2011
The World’s Youngest Billionaires 2011
Notable Newcomer Billionaires 2011

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