LONDON – The collective wealth of Britain's 1,000 richest people went up by nearly 15 percent last year, and more than half the country's 75 billionaires are foreign-born, according to a list published by the Sunday Times newspaper.
The newspaper's annual Rich List ranked steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal as Britain's wealthiest man for the fourth year running. It put the Indian-born tycoon's fortune at 27.7 billion pounds, or $55 billion, up more than 8 billion pounds from last year.
Russian oil magnate Roman Abramovich, owner of London's Chelsea soccer team, was in second place, with wealth of 11.7 billion pounds, or $23.2 billion.
The Duke of Westminster was in third place with 7 billion pounds, or $14 billion. The Briton owns huge parcels of land in central London and elsewhere.
Indian-born industrialists Ari and Gopi Hinduja were in fourth place with wealth of 6.2 billion pounds, or $12.4 billion. Russian steel and mining magnate Alisher Usmanov was ranked fifth with wealth of 5.7 billion pounds, or $11.4 billion.
The newspaper said more than half of Britain's 75 billionaires — including 14 of the 20 richest people — are foreign-born.
Queen Elizabeth II — the country's richest person when the Rich List was first published in 1989 — now ranks 264th, with a personal wealth of 320 million pounds, or $640 million. The estimate no longer includes the vast royal art collection, which is now considered to belong to the nation.
Philip Beresford, who compiled the list, said "much of the rise in this year's wealth can be attributed to one factor: the number of foreign rich who have made London or its environs the main home and base of operation."
He said the 11 years since the ostensibly leftist Labour Party was elected to power in 1997 had seen "a boon for the super-rich rarely seen before in modern British history."