Rich get richer in British index of wealthiest people

LONDON (AFP) - Ukrainian businessman Len Blavatnik has been named the wealthiest man in Britain in a rich list being released Sunday studded with members of the international jet set living in London.

Blavatnik, an investor in a range of industries including oil, petrochemicals and media, is worth £13.17 billion (S$26 billion), according to the respected Sunday Times Rich List.

The index found that the combined wealth of Britain's 1,000 richest people had more than doubled in the last ten years to over £547 billion.

Blavatnik knocked Indian-born brothers Sri and Gopi Hinduja, who run the multinational conglomerate of the same name, off the top spot.

They are now in second place, worth a reported £13 billion, followed in third by the owners of retail giants Primark and Selfridges, Galen and George Weston and family, who are said to be worth £11 billion.

Other famous names who feature on the list include Roman Abramovich, the Russian oligarch who owns Chelsea Football Club, in 10th position.

The list said he was worth £7.29 billion, down £1.23 billion since last year.

Richard Branson, the British entrepreneur behind the Virgin brand, and his family are in 20th position and are said to be worth £4.1 billion.

The Sunday Times said that rich people now need to be worth at least £100 million to make it into the top 1,000.

That is £15 million more than last year and up from £15 million in 1997.

Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton was named Britain's richest sportsman in the separate Sunday Times Sport Rich List and is said to be worth £88 million.

He was followed by Manchester United and England footballer Wayne Rooney on £72 million and fellow racing driver Jenson Button on £71 million.