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UK rich list: British billionaires defy Brexit on their way to record wealth

UK rich list: British billionaires defy Brexit on their way to record wealth
Boosted by a surging post-Brexit stock market, the top 1,000 wealthiest people resident in the UK have raised their fortunes by 14 percent, to a record £580 billion over the past year, according to the Sunday Times Rich List.

“While many of us worried about the outcome of the EU referendum, many of Britain’s richest people just kept calm and carried on making billions,” said Robert Watts, the compiler of the annual list, which has been published since 1989.

“Yet we’re seeing more diversity in the Rich List. More women, more people from ethnic backgrounds and more from surprising walks of life, with egg farmers and pet-food makers lining up with private equity barons and hedge fund managers.”

The majority of those at the very top of the list, which includes 134 Sterling billionaires, were born and have made their fortunes elsewhere, but have chosen vast London mansions as the heart of their operations.

Topping the list are the once-controversial Indian-born Hinduja brothers, Sri and Gopi, with a fortune of £16,200 million. They are followed by Soviet emigre and music and industry tycoon Len Blavatnik (£15,982m) the brothers David and Simon Reuben (£14,000m) Indian steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal (£13,229m) and Uzbeki-born Alisher Usmanov (£11,791m) who made his wealth in post-Soviet Russia.

Mittal, who heads the world’s biggest steelmaker, ArcelorMittal, has made the biggest gains over the past year, increasing his family’s fortune by an astonishing £6,109m thanks to a sharply rising demand for steel.

Nineteen people upped their wealth by more than £1 billion in the past 12 months, and the top 500 this year are wealthier than the entire 1,000 in 2016, though a weaker pound has helped massage the headline figures for tycoons most of whose businesses trade in other currencies.

The cut-off for this year’s list is £110 million, and some of the super-rich at the bottom are as famous as those at the top, such as footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovic (£110m), who moved to Manchester United last year, 50 Shades of Grey author EL James (£110m), director Christopher Nolan (£120m), and singer Adele (£125m).

Other than Usmanov, there are also multiple Soviet-born citizens on the list, including Roman Abramovich (£8,053m), another oil tycoon Eugene Shvidler (£1,068m), retired chemicals giant owner Vladimir Makhlai (£1,000m), and wife of former Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov, Yelena Baturina (£822m).