Naguib Sawiris
Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris speaks during an interview with Reuters in Sharm el-Sheikh, in the South Sinai governorate, south of Cairo,Reuters

Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris has caught the world's attention after offering to buy a Mediterranean island from Greece or Italy to house the world's refugees.

However, it isn't the first time the eccentric businessman and entrepreneur has grabbed headlines, so who is Naguib Sawiris?

Worth an estimated $2.9bn (£1.9m) according to Forbes, Sawiris is a technology and communications magnate. The 557th richest person in the world, he is the third richest man in Egypt and the 10th richest on the African continent.

His company, Orascom Telecom Media and Technology, has investments in media and technology enterprises in Egypt, Lebanon and Pakistan. It also owns Koryolink, North Korea's 3G mobile telecom company.

The oldest of three brothers, Sawiris joined the family business in 1979. Orascom, his father's company, was the largest private employer in Egypt at the time and was split into separate operating companies in the late 90s. However, he is not the richest member of his family. His younger brother Nassef is the richest man in Egypt and the 225th richest man in the world.

Sawiris was already well aware of the power of Twitter when he voiced his offer to form a sovereign state for migrants and refugees. In June 2011 he tweeted a picture of a bearded Mickey Mouse and a veiled Minnie. The move led some Islamic clerics to call for the tycoon to be killed, and he later faced charges for blasphemy over the images.

The multi-billionaire also became embroiled in scandal at the same time over videos which emerged of him receiving lap dances from a number of women in various states of undress.

Apart from courting controversy, Sawiris has involved himself in the post-revolutionary politics of his native Egypt in other ways. He was one of the founding members of the Free Egyptians' Party.

The political party was formed in April 2011 following the topping of Egypt's 30-year dictator Hosni Mubarak and joined a loose alliance of broadly secular, liberal parties that stood in Egypt's legislative elections in 2011 and 2012.

A member of Egypt's Coptic Christian minority, Sawiris stood opposed to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and its president, Mohamed Morsi, who held power in the country from 2012 to 2013. Sawiris's party did not see the toppling of Morsi in June 2013 as a coup and supported Abdel Fateh Al-Sisi in his successful bid for the presidency in 2014.