30 NRIs in Britain's top 1,000 rich list
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30 NRIs in Britain's top 1,000 rich list

NRI steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal was declared the wealthiest person in Britain and seventh richest in the world.

india Updated: Apr 23, 2006 15:46 IST

NRI steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal was on Sunday declared the wealthiest person in Britain and seventh richest in the world while as many as 30 NRIs in the UK, including Lord Swraj Paul, had fortunes worth over 60 million pounds each.

The combined wealth of top 1,000 rich people in the UK has soared by over 50 billion pounds in a single year to 300.9 billion pounds, The Sunday Times Rich List 2006 revealed.

While Mittal headed the list with a fortune worth 14.881 billion pounds, the Hinduja brothers -- Sri Chand and Gopi Chand, Chairman and President respectively of the Hinduja Group -- emerged as the seventh richest in Britain with a wealth of 3.6 billion pounds.

Roman Abramovich, the owner of Chelsea football club was the second richest, with wealth worth 10.8 billion pounds.

Lord Paul, NRI industrialist, is listed 145 with a fortune worth 465 million pounds, ahead of Queen Elizabeth II who is listed 192 with a wealth worth 300 million pounds.

According to Philip Beresford, author of The Sunday Times Rich List, the Caparo Group, headed by Lord Paul is looking to invest in the Indian economy. "It will be a case of coming home for the steel and industrial group's Indian-born founder Paul, 75, who moved to England 40 years ago," he said.

Mittal is third richest in Europe next only to Karl and Theo Albrecht (Germany, supermarkets, 18.4 billion pounds) and Ingvar Kamprad (Sweden - retail 16 billion pounds).

The Sunday Times also published a list of 50 richest in the world including three Indians - Lakshmi Mittal (7th), Mukesh and Anil Ambani (30th, Petrochemicals 8.2 billion pounds) and Azim Premji (32nd Software, 7.6 billion pounds).

Robson Walton (USA, Retail) is the richest person in the world with a wealth worth 45.1 billion pounds while Bill Gates (Software - Microsoft) is second with a fortune of 28.6 billion pounds).

Other prominent NRIs in the rich list in Britain are Anurag Dikshit (Internet Gambling, 1.704 billion pounds), Anil Agarwal (mining 1.680 billion pounds), the Jatania brothers (beauty products 850 million pounds), Naresh Goyal (Airlines, 780 million pounds) Vikrant Bhargava (Internet Gambling 592 million pounds), Gulu Lalvani (consumer electronics 450 million pounds), Bhikhu and Vijay Patel (Pharmaceuticals 444 million pounds), Lord Bagri and family (60 million pounds), Sukhpal Singh Ahluwalia (100 million pounds) and Sir Gulam Noon (65 million pounds).

Beresford said 55-year-old Mittal stunned the city in January with an audacious takeover bid for Arcelor, the world's second biggest steel-maker after Mittal Steel. The 12.7 billion pounds offer was rejected by Arcelor while the governments of France and Luxembourg, where many of its plants are based, were also hostile.

"Before the Arcelor bid, the potential of the industry in China had been preoccupying Mittal. Last year Mittal Steel announced that it was in talks to buy 49 per cent of China's Baotous Iron and Steel Group. The move came three months after Mittal acquired a 36.7 per cent stake in Hunan Valin Steel Tube and Wire for about 183 million pounds.

"But China was not the only thing on the Mittal menu. Last October it won an auction to acquire Krivorozhstal, Ukraine's premier steel mill, for nearly 2.8 billion pounds," Beresford said.

Mittal also donated 2 million pounds to Labour party in 2005.

The list also includes a Pakistani-origin fraud Nasser Ahmed, who is listed 376 with a fortune worth 151 million pounds. It was revealed in a court case last year that Ahmed made 156 million pounds in four years from a Vat fraud involving computer chips.

But Gloucester crown court was told that only 5 million pounds of that was likely to be recovered.

33-year-old Ahmed absconded from court before the jury found him guilty and has been on the run. He was given a six-year sentence with a further 10 years to be served if the 5 million pounds assets are not handed over.

Beresford said "for Britain's super-rich, life just gets better and better. Booming stock markets, soaring property prices, mega takeover deals and the City awash with big bonuses have led to a wealth explosion.

"Nine years ago when Tony Blair came to power, the wealth of the then 1,000 richest stood at 98.99 billion pounds....In the past six years alone, the wealth of our top 1,000 has rocketed from the 115 billion pounds we recorded in 2000. Our top 10 this year are worth 59.5 billion pounds in total, nearly 4 billion pounds more than the top 200 were collectively worth in 1996."

The top 100 in the young rich list of those aged 30 and under is dominated by the world's of fashion, film, football and pop. There are a record 29 footballers, led by Real Madrid and England's David Beckham (87 million pounds with his wife Victoria) but mainly drawn from the four elite clubs as present or past players - Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool.

Of the footballers, United's Wayne Rooney is the biggest riser with girlfriend Coleen McLoughlin also making a handsome income. The pair has seen their wealth rise from 6 million pounds to 20 million pounds.

First Published: Apr 23, 2006 15:25 IST