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Castro Says He Will Resign If Critics Can Prove He Has Personal Fortune


Cuban President Fidel Castro says he will resign if critics can prove allegations in a U.S. financial magazine that he is the world's seventh-richest ruler.

Mr. Castro angrily denied the Forbes magazine story during a four-hour appearance on Cuban television Monday. The magazine published a report earlier this month that estimates the Cuban leader's personal wealth at $900 million.

The Forbes article, titled "Fortunes of Kings, Queens and Dictators," ranks Mr. Castro higher than Britain's Queen Elizabeth, whose wealth is estimated at $500 million.

Mr. Castro ridiculed the report, asking why he would need a huge fortune considering he is almost 80 years old. The Cuban leader, who has ruled the country since 1959, has insisted his net worth is zero.

But the Forbes article quotes former Cuban officials as saying Mr. Castro has skimmed profits from state-owned companies for years. It says the companies allegedly controlled by Mr. Castro include a Havana convention center, a retail conglomerate, and a pharmaceutical company that makes vaccines.

The report also refers to rumors that Mr. Castro has money hidden in Swiss bank accounts.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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