Mittal remains Britain's richest person in 2007

Friday, 20 April 2007, 07:00 Hrs
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London: Indian steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal has again emerged as Britain's richest person after topping The Sunday Times' annual Rich List and adding 4.1 billion pounds to his existing wealth, now worth 19 billion pounds.

Philip Beresford, compiler of the annual Sunday Times Rich List, said Mittal had the business sense of spotting the right kind of investment at the right time. Beresford has compiled the authoritative guide for the last 19 years.

He said: "It is absolutely extraordinary. He is an expert at spotting an industry and getting in there early, buying it cheaply and selling at a high price. That is the secret of his success and the only way to make money."

According to the list, Mittal has increased his staggering fortune to more than 19 billion pounds - up from last year's 14.9 billion pounds.

The full details of the list will be revealed Sunday, but highlights were revealed on ITV1 Thursday night. According to the advance highlights of the latest list, foreigners dominate the list with only one Briton among the top five richest individuals.

Apart from Mittal, other foreigners in the top of the list include Russian magnate and Chelsea football owner Roman Abramovich, who is worth 10.8 billion pounds. The Duke of Westminster is ranked number five on the list.

Mega-rich foreigners from India, Russia, France and other countries are attracted to Britain by a generous tax regime, which allows foreign residents to be taxed only on what they actually brought into Britain - regardless of how much money they earned overseas.

Beresford told the BBC: "London is such an attractive place for the very rich, not just tax wise but because they have the city, the culture and the safety and security. New York has shot itself in the foot with its onerous regulation.

"There is also general paranoia in the US after 9/11 that makes foreign billionaires feel uncomfortable, and London is winning as a result."

Queen Elizabeth has an estimated wealth of about 300 million pounds, according to Beresford. But if the royal art collection and other assets had been classed as belonging to her, she would be in the "top two or three" of the list.

The richest footballer in the world, David Beckham, has increased his wealth by 25 million pounds to 112 million pounds this year - and is ranked at 619.

Virgin's flamboyant owner Richard Branson has dropped out of the Top Ten and is down from number nine to number 11 with his 3.1 billion pound assets.

EasyJet's Stelios Haji-Ioannou is closing the gap on Branson, having broken the billionaire barrier. Stelios is now worth ?1.29 billion and has moved up from number 80 on the list to number 49.

To get onto the 1,000-strong list, one must live in Britain and have personal wealth of at least 70 million pounds, compared with 60 million pounds a year ago. When the Rich List was launched in 1989, 75 percent of those on it had inherited their wealth. Today, 78 percent of those on the list have made their money themselves through business.
Source: IANS
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