10. Richard Branson
Richard Branson is one of the good guys on the list, however eccentric he may be. The man made his billions by turning a record store into an airway and a cell phone service, and now he's got his sights set on space tourism. We're not saying that that makes him Hugo Drax from Moonraker, but it also doesn't not make him that. Branson's flair for flamboyance includes high-profile stunts like rappelling down his own skyscrapers or kite-surfing over the English Channel, and he's shown up in public dressed as everything from a butterfly to an old-fashioned air stewardess (the result of a lost bet.) Branson seems to legitimately be putting his money to good use in the world, but if he ever turns on us, all the pieces are in place for him to go full supervillain.
9. Peter Brabeck
In 2013, the Internet turned into a river of fire. This time, it was over a 2005 video of Nestlé Chairman Peter Brabeck stating that declaring water a human right is "extreme," and that water is a foodstuff, best valued and distributed by a free market. Both Brabeck and the company backpedaled in the wake of the storm of criticism - but they didn't backpedal hard enough to stop bottling water in desperately drought-ridden California. Let's take a moment to appreciate the fact that attempting to privatize water is literally a scheme from a James Bond villain.
8. Koch Brothers
Some people who are eccentric but basically good. The Koch brothers are... not that. They have budgeted $889 million for influencing U.S. political policy over the next 2 years, with $300 million going directly into influencing the Presidential election. The company has paid out record civil and criminal environmental penalties, set a new record for one kind of accidental death settlement after exploding some Texas teenagers, and are one of the biggest polluters on the planet.
They've become kingmakers within the GOP, and they've put money into everything from blocking solar development in Florida to fighting much-needed road taxes in Colorado. The Koch's Super PAC "Americans for Prosperity" is part of what took the tea party from a couple of college kids who referred to themselves as "teabaggers" to the quasi-legitimate political force it is today.
7. Elon Musk
Musk, like Branson, falls into the category of people who're doing good in the world, but who are just a half-step away from building lasers on the moon. Musk founded Paypal.com, and since then has founded other ventures like space tourism company SpaceX and electric luxury car company Tesla. Musk's restless inventiveness and self-awareness have made him just about the closest analogue the real world has to Tony Stark, and he knows it. In April, on the eve of a SpaceX launch, he tweeted, "If this works, I'm treating myself to a volcano lair. It's time."
6. Sergey Brin
It's a common sci-fi plot - a philanthropic inventor engineers a tech device that becomes a must-have accessory, and then suddenly a switch flips and the inventor is mind-controlling people. From Google Glass to self-driving cars, Brin and Google have helped make a lot of that sci-fi future happen, but the dark side is also present. Google is such an aggressive tax dodger that a British tax designed to close loopholes was called the "Google Tax."
They've amassed an unprecedented amount of personal information on nearly everyone on Earth - did you know that your convenient Google Maps traffic estimates were made in part by tracking the location of Android users? They get away with it all under the warm, friendly banner of "Don't be evil." Google isn't an overt force for bad - but it's been shady on more than one occasion. In case this didn't make Brin enough like a cartoon villain, he also owns Boston Dynamics, an engineering firm that develops weaponized robots for the U.S. military.
5. Martin Shkreli
Martin Shkreli made headlines recently for buying the patent for AIDS drug Daraprim and raising the price 5,000%, from $13.50 to $750 per pill. He claimed that the money would go into research and development to improve the drug, but that doesn't quite jive with where industry experts indicate those R&D dollars need to be going. He eventually relented, promising to scale back the price of the drug, and weeks later, he still hadn't.
This isn't the first of his shady dealings. In 2011, he petitioned the FDA to reject new treatments for cancer and diabetes, while short-selling stock in the companies making them- i.e., betting on them to fail. His reign over Retrophin Inc. was so disastrous that they not only ousted him but sued him for breaching his duty of loyalty to the company while he ran it. He's also widely known as a jerk among players of the video game League of Legends, but somehow that's the least of his issues.
4. Gina Rinehart
Gina Rinehart became the richest person in Australia (and the richest woman in the world) after parlaying a $13 billion inheritance from her father into a $19 billion fortune. Of course, when you start with $13 billion and the price of minerals skyrockets, earning $19 billion isn't the hardest thing in the world, which might be why she came under fire for an op-ed where she said her critics needed to "spend less time drinking or smoking and socialising, and more time working."
She also entreated Australian lawmakers to slash the minimum wage, saying that it was impossible to compete with African nations where workers were willing to labor for less than $2 a day. Maybe it's her obliviousness to her own advantages in life, or her willingness to nuke her own countryside for mining purposes, but not even her own children can stand her.
3. Dan Gertler
Dan Gertler's mining deals can most charitably be described as "shrewd," and more honestly described as "looting." Using political connections to buy mines in Africa far below valuations, Gertler's mining operations have deprived some of the world's most economically vulnerable countries of the natural resources they need to get on their feet. On top of draining the Congo, which has a per-capita income of just $280, there has also been some concern about the legality of the loans he used to get his deals off the ground in the first place.
2. Viktor Bout
For starters, this guy is known as the "Merchant of Death," which doesn't exactly bode well for this entry. Supposedly the real-life inspiration of Lord of War, the Soviet-born Bout made millions either facilitating the sale of or actively selling heavy weaponry to warlords and terrorist groups around the world (depending on which side of the story you believe.) Bout has dealt with the US, the Taliban, the Northern Alliance, and groups all across Africa, from the Congo to Sierra Leone. Bout was finally convicted of selling arms to rebels in Colombia specifically for use against US forces in 2011.
1. John McAfee
In fairness, McAfee is only a millionaire, whereas most of the people on this list are billionaires. Still, he deserves some attention. The developer of McAfee Antivirus sold the business to Intel a couple of years ago and went to Belize, where the local government accused him of assembling a private army and trying to enter the drug trade. After his neighbor was murdered, officials named McAfee a person of interest.
McAfee immediately disappeared, posting photographs of himself wearing ludicrous disguises as he hid from the police, and working his way back to America, where he is currently running for President on his "Cyber Party" ticket. In the wake of the investigation it came to light that McAfee's neighbors were terrified of him, that his dogs were poisoned but an unknown person and McAfee may have blamed the neighbor, and that McAfee was posting online about his experiments with a psychoactive drug called MDPV.