LONDON 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 ruble 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.
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
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
Michel de Carvalho
13 15 Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber £6.16bn + £1.645bn
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
17 13 Hans Rausing and family £5.9bn + £1.18bn
18 17 Nicky Oppenheimer and £4.57bn + £785m
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
25 new Idan Ofer £3.4bn new
($1 = 0.5938 British Pounds)
(Reporting By Costas Pitas; Editing by Sophie Hares)