According to Forbes magazine, Carlos Slim Helú is the second richest man in the world, primarily due to his virtual monopoly of telecommunications in Mexico. Today, with the downswings in world markets, his net worth is a mere $60 billion. He lives in Mexico City, a metropolis where about half the citizens hover at the poverty level. As such, he was almost a comic-book villain for the chapter in my book about inequality.
Not long ago it surfaced that a “cybersquatter” from Jakarta named Ahmad Rusli bought the domain name www.carlosslimhelu.com, and proposed that the magnate should give up $55 million in exchange for the return of his moniker. If Slim refused, Rusli threatened to direct all traffic to that address to a porno site. (Given how obscenely wealthy Slim is, some might see poetic justice in the idea.)
However, a passel of Slim’s lawyers appealed to the U.N.’s World Intellectual Property Organization, which ruled that the domain had been registered in bad faith and should be returned to the entrepreneur free of charge. The story appeared in the Reuters web site on January 14. Click here to see it in English or here for the Spanish translation.