Via The Manila Bulletin Online, and I also saw this live on the news yesterday:
Cuba’s Castro says he’ll resign if proven he has money in Swiss bank accounts
HAVANA (AP) — Cuban President Fidel Castro said he’ll resign the day critics prove he has money in foreign accounts, in a special television appearance to rebut a Forbes magazine report naming him one of the world’s wealthiest rulers.
The 79-year-old leader said Monday on the communist government’s daily public affairs program Mesa Redonda, or “Round Table,” that he has showed throughout his life that he’s uninterested in material possessions.
“Why would I want money, especially now that I’m going to be 80 years old?” Castro said. “Why would I want money now, if I never wanted it before?”
He called the report “rubbish,” saying “all this makes me sick.”
In its May 5 article, “Fortunes Of Kings, Queens And Dictators,” Forbes put Castro in 7th place in a group of 10 world leaders with “lofty positions and vast fortunes.”
The magazine estimated Castro’s personal wealth to be $ 900 million (euro700 million) — nearly double that of the $ 500 million (euro390 million) of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and just under Prince Albert II of Monaco’s estimated $ 1 billion (euro780 million).
The article also referred to rumors of Castro having “large stashes in Swiss bank accounts.”
“I’ve been listening to this wickedness for nearly half a century — I don’t pay much attention,” said Castro, dressed in his trademark olive green military uniform. “Neither lies nor slander are worth anything.”
Yet later on the program, which lasted four-and-a-half hours, Castro pounded the table emotionally, saying, “If they can prove I have an account abroad … containing even one dollar I will resign my post.”
In explaining its calculations, Forbes said it assumed Castro has economic control over a web of state-owned companies including a convention center, a retail conglomerate and an enterprise that sells Cuban-produced pharmaceuticals.
Central Bank President Francisco Soberon said, however, that all the money made from those companies is pumped back into the island’s economy, into sectors including health, education, science, security, defense and solidarity projects with other countries.
Forbes acknowledged in its article that the estimates for all the leaders are “more art than science.”
So now that we know, let’s all start looking!