The List

Tea Parties of the World

The populist anti-government movement might be a uniquely American phenomenon, but it's not too hard to find its influence elsewhere.

FINLAND

Group: True Finns

Issues: The Euro, immigration

Impact: The populist, nationalist True Finns party shocked the European political world on April 17 by taking 19 percent of the vote in Finland's parliamentary election, making them the country's third largest political party and possibly imperiling a planned EU bailout package for Portugal -- if, as expected, they are included in the country's new government. Their success was compared by journalists to Tea Party gains up-ending U.S. President Barack Obama's agenda following the 2010 midterms.

The True Finns have been gaining steadily in popularity since their founding in 1995. Like fellow Nordic far-right parties like the Sweden Democrats or Norway's Progressive People's Party, the True Finns are best known for their opposition for their opposition to immigration -- particularly from Muslim countries -- and their opposition to the European Union. But unlike their compatriots in the European far right, the True Finns are hardly free-marketeers. They support raising corporate taxes and believe in a generous welfare state.

The True Finns are also known for their unusually conservative -- by northern European standards -- views on social issues. In overwhelmingly Lutheran Finland, founder Timo Soini raised eyebrows by converting to Catholicism during a trip to Ireland. His devout beliefs are reflected in his party's support for banning abortion and push for a constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage. The True Finns reject the notion that immigration can be a solution for the country's declining birth rate, and instead argue that work and school are preventing young Finnish women from giving birth to more pure Finnish children. 

Update: This list was republished on April 18, 2011, with a new entry on the True Finns.


BRITAIN

Group: The British Tea Party, Taxpayers Alliance

Issues: Taxes, European Union

Impact: Historical irony be damned! Several hundred British conservative activists gathered in Brighton in February to launch the British Tea Party. The event was the brainchild of Daniel Hannan (above right), a Conservative member of the European Parliament best known for his vociferous attacks on the EU's bloated bureaucracy, who felt that like Barack Obama's United States, Britain under Gordon Brown possessed "all the conditions necessary for a popular anti-tax movement."

Like its U.S. counterpart, the British Tea Party focuses on fighting high taxes, with the addition of a healthy dose of Euroskepticism. (Hannan compares calls from Brussels for more centralized European economic governance to the "taxation without representation" of American colonists under King George.) But unlike in the States, the movement hasn't grown into much of a cultural phenomenon. There have been only a few meetings with attendance into the dozens so far, and Hannan seems to have gotten more attention from U.S. media outlets like Fox News than from the British press.

Not that the anti-tax movement in Britain is not alive and well, however. Another British anti-tax group, the Taxpayers Alliance, has seen its numbers grow 70 percent to 55,000 in the last year. The group recently hosted U.S. Tea Party leaders for a seminar on organizing tactics.

THE NETHERLANDS

Group: The Party of Freedom

Issues: Islamic immigration, Euroskepticism

Impact: Freedom Party founder Geert Wilders not only wants to ban the Quran and all immigration from Islamic countries, he also believes that the Islamic religion as a whole -- not merely radical Islam -- is a violent one that must be stopped before Europe becomes fully "Islamicized." On Sept. 11, Wilders joined with U.S. Tea Party activists for a rally at the site of the proposed Islamic Cultural Center near New York's Ground Zero.  

The formula seems to be working. Despite getting temporarily barred from entering countries and facing criminal charges for inciting hatred and discrimination, Wilders and his Party of Freedom became the third-largest party in the Dutch parliament in the June 2010 elections, effectively making them kingmakers for any coalition in the new government.

Wilders's pet issues include his proposed tax on headscarves, the necessity of kicking Bulgaria and Romania out of the EU, and the importance of the Netherlands leaving the EU should Turkey ever join it. Not surprisingly, Wilders is also more generally opposed to the EU itself, and particularly the taxes that Dutch people pay to it. Wilders has sought to abolish the European Parliament, telling a newspaper that Dutch money should be spent in Holland, not "subsidizing farmers in France and Poland."

While the Party of Freedom is often lumped in with xenophobic European parties like the British National Party and France's National Front, Wilders rejects this categorization. He is unique among European far-right-wingers for his strong support of Israel and gay rights.

JAPAN

Group: Zaitokukai

Issues: Immigration, nationalism

Impact: "Restoring honor," as Glenn Beck recently dubbed his massive Tea Party rally on the Washington Mall, is a familiar theme for a growing movement of online nationalists aiming to purge Japan of foreign influence and restore its status in the world.

Far-right nationalist groups have been a fixture in Japanese politics for decades. But as the influence of organized right-wing parties has waned, a new breed of grassroots nationalists has sprung up on the Web. The most influential of these groups is Zaitokukai, an acronym for the awkwardly named, "Citizens Group That Will Not Forgive Special Privileges For Koreans In Japan." Targets of the group's protests have included a grammar school for North Korean children and the home of a 14-year-old Filipino girl whose parents were deported after overstaying their visa.

The group's founder is a 38-year-old tax accountant who uses the pseudonym Makoto Sakurai (no one knows his real name), communicates with his more than 10,000 followers almost exclusively online, and favors three-piece suits and bowties for his public appearances. Sakurai says he has studied videos of Tea Party rallies for organizing tips.

CHINA

Group: The Billionaire Communists 

Issues: Taxes

Impact: In 2002, President Jiang Zemin decided to allow entrepreneurs to join the Communist Party, a step that would have been completely unthinkable in the old days of monolithic party politics -- and one that let in a Tea Party-like stream of anti-tax, pro-business communists. During a recent debate on whether China should institute a property tax, some of the leaders of the new coalition wielded rhetoric that would not seem out of place at a Sarah Palin rally. "If you really want to provide a boost to employment, don't raise taxes, cut them," said Wang Jianlan, one of China's wealthiest real estate developers and one of the main opponents of the tax.

A handful of billionaires certainly doesn't qualify as a mass movement -- though the disgruntled mega-rich played a key role in the growth of the U.S. Tea Party. And the recent mass worker protests in response to unemployment have mostly demanded more government spending, not less. But as China's new middle class continues to grow, these capitalist comrades may find a new audience for their free-market message.

NORWAY

Group: The Progress Party

Issues: Taxes, Immigration

Impact: The "Progs" have been a fixture on the Norwegian political scene for decades, pushing for lower income and sales taxes. But because of the party's extreme stance on immigration -- it favors a maximum of 1,000 new immigrants per years and mandatory AIDS tests for new arrivals -- even right-wing Norwegian parties have refused to work with it.

They may not have a choice anymore. In 2005, The Progress Party became the second-largest party in the Norwegian parliament, and it increased its total in the 2009 election. The party has capitalized on fears of Islamic immigration, with party leader Siv Jensen warning that the country is undergoing "sneak Islamization." Even the ruling Labor Party has had to adopt some of the Progress Party's platform, placing further restrictions on immigration.

Conservative writers in the United States have praised the Progress Party for finding electoral success on an anti-tax platform in what was once considered a bastion of democratic socialism. The Progs have also gotten advice from their American cousins on grassroots tactics: In April, Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity and a leading figure in the U.S. Tea Party movement, visited Norway to offer some organizational guidance.

The List

Bad Billionaires

Bill Gates and Warren Buffett recently got 40 of the world's richest people to agree to donate half their fortunes to charity. Here are five guys they won't be hitting up anytime soon.

Joaquín Guzmán Loera

Country: Mexico

Estimated worth: $1 billion

Notoriety: In 2009, Mexico's most-wanted man became the second narcotrafficker to crack the Forbes rich list. (Colombia's Pablo Escobar was the first in 1989.) Since escaping from a maximum-security prison in a laundry cart in 2001, Guzmán has overseen the rise of the Sinaloa cartel, which has raked in more than $20 billion in ill-begotten profit.

Guzmán is believed to be hiding in the Sierra Madre mountains. Despite his occasionally brazen public appearances -- such as his 2007 wedding to an 18-year-old beauty queen, which was reportedly attended by hundreds of people, including local politicians -- and the multimillion-dollar rewards for his capture offered by both the U.S. and Mexican governments, Guzmán remains on the loose. Part of this is due to his notorious cruelty -- the Sinaloa cartel pioneered the now common use of beheadings to send messages to law enforcement and rival gangs -- as well as his extensive patronage of law enforcement. Guzman has bragged of paying more than $5 million every month in bribes to police and politicians. The strategy is working: analysis of arrest patterns suggests that the Sinaloa cartel has been more effective than its rivals at infiltrating law enforcement.

Guzmán also has something of a taste for the flamboyant. On several occasions, he has reportedly entered restaurants with a team of armed guards and confiscated the cell phones of the other diners, then paid their tabs to compensate them for the inconvenience -- after finishing his steak dinner.

Dawood Ibrahim

Country: India/Pakistan

Estimated worth: $6-7 billion

Notoriety: Ibrahim is remarkable not only for how he has straddled the worlds of organized crime and international terrorism, but the degree to which he has done so more or less in the open. An Interpol most-wanted notice for him in 2009 actually listed his home address. The Mumbai native began his organization, "D-Company," as a teenager and built it from a small-time smuggling operation to one of the largest criminal syndicates in Asia by the end of the 1980s.

D-Company was initially an entirely secular organization, but Ibrahim became radicalized by a series of anti-Muslim riots in India in 1992. He rebranded the group with the objective of protecting India's Muslim population and is believed to have organized the 1993 Mumbai bombings, which killed more than 200 people. Ibrahim moved his operation to Pakistan after the attacks.

Ibrahim is reportedly a major funder of the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, which is believed to be responsible for the 2008 Mumbai hotel attacks. D-Company also reportedly shares its smuggling routes with al Qaeda. India has requested his extradition and he has been designated a terrorist by the United States. But Ibrahim has also diversified into legitimate enterprises. He is believed to be heavily invested in real estate and construction throughout India and Pakistan and to have bankrolled a number of Bollywood film productions.   

Oleg Deripaska

Country: Russia

Estimated worth: $10.7 billion

Notoriety:

 Deripaska's rise is one of the emblematic stories of the mad scramble for wealth in early 1990s Russia. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, Deripaska was a 23-year-old university student. Three years later, after a series of shrewd investments in the privatized Russian metals industry, he was waging an ultimately successful battle for control of a Siberian smelting plant, whose owner at one point aimed a grenade launcher at him.

Not that Deripaska was shy about using strong-arm tactics himself. In 2002, a Russian court awarded Deripaska a controlling stake in a rival paper company.   He sent a brigade of private security guards to ensure the takeover of the plant, according to press reports at the time. By 2008, he had built his Rusal empire into the world's largest aluminum company and, in the process, became Russia's richest man. (His position has slipped somewhat in the recent financial crisis.) His other business interests include insurance, car manufacturing, and electricity.

In 2006, the U.S. State Department denied him a visa to enter the United States.  The government did not publicly address why.  Press reports have indicated that Deripaska has been investigated by the FBI over alleged ties to organized crime. Deripaska has denied any such links. In 2009 he was allowed to enter the country twice, according to the Wall Street Journal, under special arrangement by the FBI. Deripaska has denied such an arrangement. British courts have also investigated Deripaska's business relationship with Anton Malevsky, one of the most powerful figures in the Russian mafia. Deripaska was at the center of a British political scandal in 2008 when it was reported that he had entertained EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson, who had been instrumental in cutting aluminum tariffs that benefited Deripaska's business. Senior EU officials have denied that Mandelson intervened on Deripaska’s behalf.

*This section has been updated to clarify several points about Deripaska's biography. 

 

The Uzan Family

Country: Turkey

Estimated worth: Formerly $1.6 billion

Notoriety: The Uzans arrived in Turkey from Bosnia around 1910, building their fortune in construction and banking. By 2001, they had made their way onto the Forbes rich list. Cem Uzan, the family's current patriarch, set up the country's first private television network and founded an opposition political party, earning himself comparisons to Italy's mogul-turned-prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi.

Unfortunately, Uzan also appeared to share some of Berlusconi's predilection for shady business practices. At one point, the family was facing more than 100 criminal charges in the Turkish court system, ranging from libel to money laundering. But that was nothing compared with the swindle they pulled off on U.S. telecoms giant Motorola, which loaned companies controlled by the Uzans $2.7 billion in both cash and assets while trying to enter the Turkish telecoms market. Motorola never got a penny of it back.

Through its political connections and media influence, the Uzans were able to operate with impunity for years. But the family's actively hostile relationship with Turkish Prime Minsiter Recep Tayyip Erdogan turned out to be its undoing. The Turkish government seized 219 of the family's companies in 2004, after which the Uzans lost their spot on the Forbes list. Cem is currently hiding out in France, avoiding a 23-year prison sentence back home.

Allan Stanford

Country: United States/Antigua and Barbuda

Estimated worth: $2.2 billion in 2008

Notoriety: Charged in 2009 with orchestrating a Ponzi scheme in more than 140 countries, Stanford first made his fortune running his father's real estate firm during the 1980s. After dad retired, Stanford moved his operation to Antigua in 1990. At its peak, Stanford Financial was managing $51 billion in assets. Stanford became one of the Caribbean island's largest benefactors and most visible figures, earning himself a knighthood. The flamboyant Texan also became a major figure in the world of cricket, spending millions of dollars of his own money to sponsor tournaments throughout the Caribbean and promote the game in the United States. He was also a "lead benefactor" of the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, earning praise from former President Bill Clinton and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Unfortunately, it was all built on a lie. Stanford had duped his investors for years, lying about the performance of their investments and the security of their deposits. U.S. authorities had reportedly been investigating Stanford for more than 15 years, but only stepped up their efforts after the conviction of fellow fraudster Bernard Madoff. Stanford is also reportedly under investigation for laundering money on behalf of Mexico's infamous Gulf Cartel.     

Stanford is currently being held in the United States, awaiting trial on fraud charges. His lawyers claim that his health is deteriorating in prison and have asked a judge to grant bail.

GERARDO MAGALLON/AFP/Getty Images; Interpol; MIKE CLARKE/AFP/Getty Images; MUSTAFA OZER/AFP/Getty Images; Dave Einsel/Getty Images