Weathering a recession and the bursting of the internet bubble, Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has seen his personal fortune triple in his 11 years in politics. In early 1994, before Forza Italia won the national elections first time around, his estate was reckoned at 3.1 billion; current estimates now put it at 9.6 billion. In just over a decade, Berlusconi has reaped 700 million in dividends equal to a monthly wage of 5.2 million. All this, according to the Forbes rich list, makes him the 25th wealthiest man in the world. Berlusconis media empire has raked in most of the cash since 1994, with shares in Mondadori (publishing) doubling, and Mediaset (television) and Mediolanum (banking) tripling in value. But despite soaring revenues from the big names its not all been plain sailing: keeping afloat German Television firm Kirch has cost 400 million, with a further 300 million going to prop up Italys Yellow Pages (Pagine Utili), and 230 million for Berlusconis beloved rossoneri football club AC Milan.
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