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Former World’s 8th Richest Man Loses $34.5 Billion

Brazil businessman Eike Batista has seen better days.

Last March the Brazilian commodities tycoon ranked as the world’s eighth richest person with a net worth of $34.5 billion. His net worth today: $200 million, according to Bloomberg Billionaires.

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Batista, who has been called the Donald Trump of Brazil, may have suffered one of the “worst wealth losses in history,” says Bloomberg Billionaires Index Editor Matt Miller. “He was the face of Brazilian capitalism. He’s mired in debt. This is a tragic fall for him.”

Most of Batista's problems stem from the erosion of nearly 90% of the value in his flagship company, OGX Petroleo & Gas Participacoes SA (OGXP3). Shares in the business have plummeted in the last year as the company missed targets for production output and reserves.

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On Thursday, Mubadala Development Co., a sovereign-wealth fund out of Abu Dhabi, converted an investment in Batista's companies into debt, further eroding the value of his overall assets. EBX Group Co., Batista’s commodities empire, now owes $1.5 billion to Mubadala. And that put Batista over the edge, reducing his personal wealth to millions, not billions anymore. Miller says Batista “tended to oversell the amount of resources it had,” and that Batista would have to “constantly borrow against one company to pay for the needs of others.”

Unlike billionaires Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, Batista was ostentatious about his wealth, even declaring that he would overtake Mexico’s Carlos Slim for the world’s richest person title by 2015. He told Bloomberg: "Just give me time, let me work please."

What was behind his ambition?

"I suffered very heavy asthma, so my mother threw me in the cold swimming pool," Batista said. "So I cured my asthma through discipline, and I saw that you could achieve things by performing, and it's part of my DNA… I'm very competitive."

Well, Batista now has one year and five months to earn back $66.8 billion.

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