Leonardo Farkas

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About Leonardo Farkas Leonardo Julio Farkas Klein (b. March 20, 1967 in Vallenar) is a Chilean businessman and philanthropist of Hungarian and Jewish descent.Early Years Farkas studied commercial engineering at the University of Santiago, Chile. In the 80’s he emigrated to the United States and made a living working in show business as a piano player while traveling throughout the US. He also worked in several Caribbean cruising companies until the death of his father. Then, Farkas returned back to Chile to manage the family business. Farkas has stakes in several industries, the mining sector being the most important. Public Image Farkas is widely known in Chile by his appearances in the telethon, a fundraising campaign for handicapped children. Farkas donated hundreds of millions of pesos, and in 2008, donated 1 billion pesos (US$1.5 million approx.), becoming the first individual to donate such amount of money to this campaign (matched hours later by José Luis Nazar during the same event). Farkas is also known by his eccentric way of handing out bills to by-standers and by tipping exorbitant amounts of money to waiters in restaurants. Controversy A recent lawsuit has been brought against Farkas by his minority Australian partners accusing him of illegal appropriation of funds. The lawsuit argues that he has inappropriately used the company’s money for personal charity acts. Farkas has responded to the accusations by saying that his associates were well aware of his charity donations, and never presented any reservations against them. He has vowed to fight the lawsuit in court. Farkas has been very critical of the Chilean Upper class, stating that “they’re usually very stingy and elitist” and don’t do enough to mitigate Chile’s social problems. He has also said that if elected president “all Chileans would have their own house”. This rhetoric of appealing to the masses of poor people has gained him substantial support among that social group and some harsh criticism from his business peers and local politicians, often labeling him as a “populist” in search of some spotlight. Possible presidential bid During 2008 it had been speculated that Farkas might become an independent candidate for the upcoming presidential election of 2009. Initially, he declined to comment on the issue. However, on December 5th, after much speculation, he finally announced he would not be running for the presidency of Chile.

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Rank Name Total
1. Leonardo Farkas 887

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