Four of Indian-origin among Forbes America’s 400 richest

Washington, Sep 23 (Calcutta Tube) Four Indian Americans figure in Forbes magazine‘s annual list of the 400 richest Americans, with Microsoft founder Bill Gates topping for the 17th year in a row.

The Indian Americans on the US business magazine’s list of the super rich are Syntel’s Bharat Desai (252), venture capitalist Kavitark Ram Shriram (288), software mogul Romesh Wadhwani (290) and Sun Microsystems co-founder Vinod Khosla (308)

Kenya-born Desai, 57, who spent his teens in India to earn an engineering degree from the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay, (IIT-B) saw his family wealth dip a bit from $1.65 billion to $1.6 billion.

Shriram, 53, a University of Madras graduate with an MBA from University of Michigan, found no change in his fortunes totalling $1.45 billion.

Another IIT-B graduate, Wadhwani, 62, who rode the tech bubble onto the Forbes 400 in 1999 with his $9.3 billion sale of Aspect Development software firm to i2 Technologies, also saw no change in his wealth at $1.4 billion.

But Silicon Valley venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, 55, an IIT-Delhi graduate, had a very good year, taking his personal fortune to $1.3 billion from 1.1 billion last year.

Overall, America’s super-rich got even wealthier this year, despite the stumbling economy with their combined net worth climbing 8 percent this year, to $1.37 trillion. Wealth rose for 217 members on the list, while 85 saw a decline.

Bill Gates, first on the Forbes list with an estimated fortune of $54 billion, up from $50 billion in 2009 is followed by billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who is worth $45 billion.

Larry Ellison, chief executive of Oracle, stood at No.3 with $20 billion. Christy Walton took the No.4 spot, while members of her family – whose fortune comes from Wal-Mart – took spots 7 through 9.

Charles and David Koch of private energy conglomerate Koch Industries, tied for No.5 at $21.5 billion each. Both men saw their wealth skyrocket by $5.5 billion from 2009.

Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York City, rounded out the list at No.10 with $18 billion.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who clocked in at No.35 on the list, saw his wealth rise 245 percent over the year – the largest percentage increase on the list.

Forbes said 16 new members joined the list this year, including Facebook’s Dustin Moskovitz and Eduardo Saverin. At 26 – 8 days younger than Zuckerberg – Saverin is the new youngest on the list.

By contrast, 34 people fell off the list this year. One notable drop-off is Sri Lankan American Raj Rajaratnam, founder of the Galleon Group hedge fund, who is facing 185 years in prison.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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