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Russian tycoon Usmanov tops Sunday Times Rich List

Alisher Usmanov
Image caption Alisher Usmanov started his business empire with the manufacture of plastic bags

Russian businessman Alisher Usmanov has topped the Sunday Times ranking of the wealthiest people in Britain and Ireland with a fortune of £13.3bn.

The Surrey-based tycoon, 59, who has a 30% stake in Arsenal football club, owns iron ore producer Metalloinvest.

Warner Music's Len Blavatnik comes next in the 25th annual list with £11bn but steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal's £10bn sees him drop from first to fourth.

The 1,000 richest people in Britain and Ireland share a wealth of £450bn.

The highest UK-born person in the list is the Duke of Westminster in eighth place with £7.8bn from property. He is the only person to make the top 10 of the list in each of its 25 years.

Other Britons include Sir Philip and Lady Green, who are 16th in the list with £3.8bn from their retailing empire, and Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin brand, in 19th place, with £3.5bn.

Former Miss UK Kirsty Bertarelli shares her £7.4bn pharmaceuticals fortune with husband Ernesto, the same amount as last year, but they have slipped three places down the list to ninth place.

In third place are Sri and Gopi Hinduja, of the London-based global conglomerate Hinduja Group, with £10.6bn.

Chelsea FC's Russian owner Roman Abramovich, who made his fortune in the oil industry, is down two places to fifth with £9.3bn.

There are a record 88 billionaires in the list - compared to 77 last year and just nine when the rich list started in 1989, and the Queen was placed top.

Her then wealth of £5.2bn included the Crown Estates and the royal art collection but since 1993 the Queen has been valued only on personal worth for the purposes of the list.

The combined wealth of the top 200 people in list is £318.2bn which is more than eight times the figure 25 years ago.

Mr Usmanov started his business empire with the manufacture of plastic bags.

His interests now include Russia's biggest iron ore producer Metalloinvest, a stake in internet business mail.ru and a holding in mobile phone operator MegaFon which became listed on both the London and Moscow stock exchanges last year.

Mr Usmanov owns Sutton Place in Surrey, the former home of the late oil baron J Paul Getty, as well as a £48m mansion in north London.

Mr Blavatnik saw the biggest rise in wealth among those listed with an increase of £3.4bn over the past year.

The Russia-born media mogul, who now holds US citizenship, sold his stake in Russian oil and gas giant TNK-BP for £2bn last month.

India-born Mr Mittal, who topped the list for the past eight years, was the biggest faller in wealth terms after his 40% stake with his wife in steelmaker ArcelorMittal plunged from a peak of £28bn to just under £6bn.

Earlier this month former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney was revealed to have topped the Sunday Times Rich List of musicians with the £680m fortune he shares with his wife Nancy Shevell.

Sir Paul, whose American heiress wife is said to be worth £150m, has topped each music list since 1989 when he was worth an estimated £80m.

Andrew Lloyd Webber was second with £620m and Irish rock band U2 were third with £520m.

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