Tiriac, who had last year a wealth estimated at €1 bln was beaten to the second spot by Ioan Niculae, owner of Interagro, according to Forbes Romania 500.

Tiriac’s fortune is currently standing at €850-900 million and ranks third, while Interagro owner’s net worth soared to €1.2bln in 2009.

On fourth is Gabriel Popoviciu with a personal balance sheet of €600-650 mln, while on fifth are brothers Cristescu with a fortune estimated at €600 mln.

The collective net worth of the Forbes Romania 500 has declined by €10 bln over the last 12 months. Businessman Gigi Becali dropped from €725 mln to only €200 mln this year, now standing on 27th in Forbes 500. Last year, Gigi Becali was the seventh wealthiest Romanian. However, last year, Capital magazine was ranking Gigi Becali as richest Romanian citizen with a net worth of €2.5 bln.

Former architect, Dinu Patriciu took over in 1998 the former state-owned oil company Rompetrol, and served as chief executive of the company since 2001. Through a round of buyouts, Patriciu turned Rompetrol into a multinational company with sales of $4.6bln. In 2007, he sold 75% equity in the oil company to state-owned Kazakh electricity supplier KazMunaiGaz. Earlier this year, the Romanian businessman sold the remaining 25% stake to KMG.

Earlier this year, Dinu Patriciu acquired Fabian Romania, a buyout firm listed at London Stock Exchange through Black Sea Global Properties. Patriciu has recently taken over the real estate fund Deutsche Land.

America’s richest citizens became poorer this year, as their collective net worth fell €300 bln. Even Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates’s fortune sank €7bln, but remained the richest American as ranked by Forbes 400.