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Richest People in Britain 2006

Sunday Times

Lakshmi Mittal remains Britain's richest man at Sunday Times Rich List

London, April 23, 2007
Col. Sunder Singh

NRI Lakshmi Mittal steel tycoon has topped the Sunday Times Rich List of the 1000 wealthiest people in the United Kingdom again in 2006. According to the Sunday Times Rich List, Mittal has increased his staggering fortune to more than 19 billion pounds - up from last year's 14.9 billion pounds.

Mittal's wealth is based on his Mittal Steel company, the world's largest steelmaker which three months ago launched an audacious takeover bid for Arcelor, its nearest rival. London-based Mittal, 55, has also been buying into steelmills in China and the Ukraine. Mittal Steel is quoted on the American and Dutch stock markets and is 88% controlled by the Mittal family and trusts. Mittal ranks at number three in the world’s richest people.

The second position on the Sunday Times rich list with £10.8 billion pounds is Roman Abramovich who was born in Russia and made his billions from oil. At just 39 years of age Abramovich is also the proud owner of the high profile Chelsea football club.

There are now 54 billionaires listed, with 20 of them being born outside of UK. The combined wealth of the super rich is an amazing £300.964 billion pounds, 20 percent more than the total in 2005.

The Prime Minister Tony Blair has played a key role in ensuring this bonanza. In 1997, the wealth of the top 1,000 stood just short of £100 billion. In the meantime it has tripled.

The Co-founders of Part Gaming Russell De Leon and his wife Ruth Parasol have accumulated at least £2 billion out of gambling. The Blair government recently gave permission for the building of a series of so-called Super Casinos in the UK.

The real estate also continues to provide major investment opportunities. Up from last years 198, 211 on the list derive their wealth from land ownership and/or property. The geographical concentration of the super-wealthy continues, with the number of multimillionaires residing in Britain’s south-east, particularly London, amounting to at least 52 percent of the 1,000 richest individuals. This is the highest figure the Sunday Times has recorded.

Mittal paid just over £57 million for the KPG address in 2004. The previous owner was Baron de Reuter, founder of Reuters news agency. Another very popular London residence for the world’s super-rich is Bishops Avenue in East Finchley. A modest five bedroom house costs £3 million, but Toprak Mansion with 28,000 sq ft, known as Top Whack Mansion by estate agents, is on the market for £50 million. Mittal also owns a property called Summer Palace right next door. Neighbours include pornography magnet and owner of the tabloid Express newspaper Richard Desmond, who owns two properties on the street.

London could not yet compare with Switzerland as a banking centre, it does rank above any other European city. “If you’re an emerging rich person or multi-billionaire,” he explained, “London is the place to be. The rich are now so much wealthier than ever before that the Times raised the threshold for entry to the list by a further £10 million since 2005, to a record £60 million.

Most of the rich people from 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.

According to 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.”

On the other hand, 30 percent of the population have zero liquid assets. Millions of working people and their families live a hand-to-mouth