Russians slide down UK billionaires list as Ukraine crisis bites

Sat May 10, 2014 2:37pm EDT

LONDON, May 10 (Reuters) - Russia's Alisher Usmanov has lost
his spot as the richest man in Britain, according to the Sunday
Times, as the crisis in Ukraine wiped billions of pounds off the
bank balances of Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs.
    The Indian-born, London-based brothers Sri and Gopi Hinduja,
who run the global automotive, banking and investment Hinduja
Group, have climbed to the top of the list as Britain's
wealthiest pair, valued at 11.9 billion pounds ($20 billion).
    Usmanov, ranked as Russia's richest man by Forbes, lost 2.7
billion pounds over the last year as he fell to second place on
the Sunday Times Magazine's list of billionaires in Britain.
    Britain has more billionaires per head of population than
any other country, according to the Sunday Times, which put the
combined wealth of the 104 billionaires on its list at 301
billion pounds, up over 50 billion pounds since 2013.
    Philip Beresford, who compiles the annual table, said the
Russian and Ukrainians at the top of the list had seen their
wealth dented by the intervention in Ukraine. That led to the
rouble falling to an all-time low and Russian stocks tumbling. 
    "The malaise of the Russian economy and the current crisis
has had its effect on them all," said Beresford. 
    Ukrainian-American Len Blavatnik, who owns international
record label Warner Music, and Roman Abramovich, the owner of
Chelsea soccer club, together lost nearly 1.8 billion pounds in
the last twelve months. 
    Western countries have responded to Russia's annexation of
Ukraine's Crimea region by imposing limited sanctions against
Moscow, targeting some Russian political and business leaders
and interests seen as involved in the Ukraine crisis. 
    
    LONDON CALLING 
    The majority of billionaires on the Sunday Times' list were
born abroad, reflecting the draw of London, in particular, to
elite international investors.
    Soaring property values in London, where many of Britain's
richest people invested as prices bottomed out during the
recession, helped boost the overall wealth of the elite group,
which surpassed 100 entries for the first time, according to the
report's author.
    Beresford said defining 'Britishness' was one of the hardest
tasks and the list included people with strong business
interests in Britain and who spent "quite a lot of their time"
in the country.
    In a sign that the top of British society is benefiting from
the economic recovery, the level of wealth required to enter the
top 50 on the list, 1.7 billion pounds, beat the pre-recession
2008 figure for the first time.
 1     3      Sri and Gopi Hinduja        £11.9bn   + £1.3bn
 2     1      Alisher Usmanov             £10.65bn  - £2.65bn
 3     4      Lakshmi Mittal and family   £10.25bn  + £250m
 4     2      Len Blavatnik               £10bn     - £1bn
 5     9      Ernesto and Kirsty          £9.75bn   + £2.35bn
              Bertarelli                            
 6     6      John Fredriksen and family  £9.25bn   + £450m
 7     7      David and Simon Reuben      £9bn      + £719m
 8     12     Kirsten and Jorn Rausing    £8.8bn    + £3.691bn
 9     5      Roman Abramovich            £8.52bn   - £780m
 10    8      The Duke of Westminster     £8.5bn    + £700m
 11    11     Galen, Hilary and George    £7.3bn    + £650m
              Weston and family                     
 12    10     Charlene de                 £6.365bn  - £635m
              Carvalho-Heineken and                 
              Michel  de Carvalho                   
 13    15     Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber   £6.16bn   + £1.645bn
              and family                            
 14    new    Carrie and Francois         £6.14bn   new
              Perrodo and family                    
 15    new    German Khan                 £6.08bn   new
 16    31     Sir David and Sir           £6bn      + £3.65bn
              Frederick Barclay                     
 17    13     Hans Rausing and family     £5.9bn    + £1.18bn
 18    17     Nicky Oppenheimer and       £4.57bn   + £785m
              family                                
 19    18     Earl Cadogan and family     £4.2bn    + £525m
 20    14     Joseph Lau and family       £4.03bn   - £570m
 21    16     Sir Philip and Lady Green   £3.88bn   No change
 22    20     Denis O'Brien               £3.854bn  + £486m
 23    32=    Mike Ashley                 £3.75bn   + £1.45bn
 24    19     Sir Richard Branson and     £3.6bn    + £86m
              family                                
 25    new    Idan Ofer                   £3.4bn    new
   ($1 = 0.5938 British Pounds)

 (Reporting By Costas Pitas; Editing by Sophie Hares)
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