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Billionaire gives away most of his $9.5b fortune, wants to be broke when he dies

American billionaire Chuck Feeney, 83, may be a stranger to most.

But he is the man behind the well-known and successful Duty Free Shoppers (DFS) stores that are often seen in airports all over the world.

Throughout his lifetime, he has amassed a hefty fortune of over US$7.5billion (S$9.53billion).

He worked hard to expand DFS, traveling all over the world to conquer different markets.

He wants to die broke

Yet, Feeney has been giving his money all away since 1982.

His ambition? To give away everything before he dies.

Just last week, his foundation made one of its final donations by pledging nearly US$41.8 million (S$51.8 million) to Northern Ireland.

Feeney, a simple man who wears a $18 Casio watch and does not own a car, said once: “I want the last cheque I write to bounce.

In 1984, he transferred his 37.5 per cent share of DFS to Atlantic Philanthropies, which was a charitable organisation he founded.

The most secretively generous billionaire

This effectively meant that his earnings go straight to this organisation - and this was done in secret. He wanted to maintain his anonymity.

Since then he has funnelled billions into education, science, health care, aging and civil rights in several countries most notably Ireland, which has seen a large proportion of his generosity.

He has also helped various organisations and universities in the US, Australia, Vietnam, Bermuda and South Africa.

In 1997, the cover was blown when DFS was sold to LVMH, a french Multinational luxury goods conglomerate.

The world then found out that his money did not in fact belong to Feeney - but to Atlantic Philanthropies.

The Independent reported that he has almost US$2 million (S$2.48 million), which is a tiny fraction of his earnings, left until he dies.

He explained his mindset in 2007: "I had one idea that never changed in my mind - that you should use your wealth to help people."

Feeney also said in an interview with Forbes: "I don't dislike money, but there's only so much you can use."

Source: The Independent, Forbes, Atlantic Philanthropies

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