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Federer adds his name to those with a fortune

Tennis star Roger Federer has just joined the select group of the 300 wealthiest residents of Switzerland, according to an annual survey published on Friday.

Federer, aged 27, is valued at SFr100-200 million ($83.2-166.4 million) by the Swiss business magazine Bilanz.

It notes that since 2005, Federer has been under the wings of the influential sport marketing and management agency IMG, which has managed to triple his annual income from advertising to $35 million.

The magazine also points out that at the beginning of this year, the world's number two player signed an eight-year deal with sportswear and equipment company Nike worth a record $130 million.

Since 1998 Federer has carried off more than $43 million in prize money.

Bilanz says the Swiss also has a third source of income – exhibition matches for which he receives about $1 million for each he attends. Federer plays about half a dozen such matches every year.

Earlier this year, Federer moved home from his native canton Basel country to live in the commune of Wollerau in central Switzerland, where taxes are lower.

Popular and unpopular

One of his prominent neighbours is Marcel Ospel, the former chairman of Switzerland's largest bank, UBS. The irony is that Ospel's wealth is also assessed at SFr100-200 million and while Federer is extremely popular, Ospel has become the opposite.

Ospel is widely blamed for having led UBS into the United States subprime mortgage debacle, which has cost the bank SFr45 billion in writedowns.

Bilanz comments that the banker laid the foundation for his wealth when he was head of investment banking and CEO of the Swiss Bank Corporation, later taking over as CEO at UBS when SBC merged with the Union Bank of Switzerland.

The magazine says that although Ospel lost dozens of millions of Swiss francs when the UBS shares he owned fell dramatically in price, the loss was within limits as he had swapped some of them for other investments.

Ospel, aged 58, stepped down from UBS in April and at the end of November repaid the bank SFr22 million.

Losing billions

The annual list shows even the wealthiest Swiss residents are not immune to the current global financial meltdown.

The 300 richest – half of them foreigners – together lost SFr70 billion last year. Their combined wealth is now SFr368 billion.

For the seventh year in a row, Bilanz listed Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad as the richest person in Switzerland, with an estimated wealth of SFr35-36 billion.

The Hoffmann and Oeri families ranked second, based on a combined wealth of SFr16-17 billion from their stake in the Roche pharmaceutical and diagnostics company. That's SFr2 billion less than in 2007.

The Brenninkmeijer family, founders of the textile company C&A, came third with SFr12-13 billion.

Among the worst hit were Russian tycoon Viktor Vekselberg, who lost SFr3 billion and the Geneva-based Latsis family, whose banking interests shrank by about SFr4 billion.

swissinfo with agencies and Bilanz

Key facts

A selection of the select:

Bernie Ecclestone (Formula 1) - SFr5-6 billion
Michael Schumacher (former F1 driver) – SFr800-900 million
Shania Twain (Canadian singer/songwriter) – SFr400-500 million
Phil Collins (singer/songwriter) – SFr200-300 million
Anni-Frid (Frida) Reuss (singer with Abba) – SFr200-300 million
Tina Turner (singer) – SFr200-300
Nana Mouskouri (singer) – SFr100-200 million

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The 300 wealthiest

This is the 20th time that Bilanz has published its list.

Editor-in-chief Dirk Schütz said research for this year's edition had never been so difficult to carry out.

"2008 was the second-worst year at the stock exchange in the past century and a half," he writes, noting that only 1931 proved worse.

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