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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 May, 2004, 14:30 GMT 15:30 UK
Moscow 'has most billionaires'
Mikhail Khodorkovsky
Khodorkovsky is Russia's richest man
The Russian capital Moscow now boasts more billionaires than any other city in the world, according to a survey by Forbes magazine.

The study also estimates that a quarter of Russia's wealth is now concentrated in the hands of just 100 people.

Topping the list with an estimated fortune of $15.2bn is Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former head of the oil firm Yukos, who is presently in jail facing charges of fraud and tax evasion.

The 37-year-old oil and aluminium tycoon, Roman Abramovich, who last year bought London's Chelsea Football Club, is Russia's second wealthiest man, worth $12bn.

'New stage of capitalism'

Oil and gas industrialist Victor Vekselberg, who made the headlines this year when he bought the world's second-largest collection of Faberge eggs, came in third with $5.9bn.

Mikhail Prokhorov and Vladimir Potanin, co-owners of Norilsk Nickel, came in fourth and fifth with their wealth estimated at $5.4bn each.

RUSSIA'S RICHEST MEN
Mikhail Khodorkovsky $15.2bn
Roman Abramovich $12.5bn
Victor Vekselberg $5.9bn
Mikhail Prokhorov $5.4bn
Vladimir Potanin $5.4bn
Mikhail Friedman $5.2bn
Vladimir Lisin $4.8bn
Oleg Deripaska $4.5bn
Alexsei Mordashov $4.5 bn
Vagit Alekperov $3.9bn
Source: Forbes magazine
Also on the list was Mikhail Friedman, head of the Alfa Bank, Vagit Alekperov, head of Lukoil, and the fast-rising Russian entrepreneur in the aluminium sector Oleg Deripaska.

Just a dozen years after the collapse of communism, the Russian capital is home to 33 billionaires, according to Forbes, while New York has just 31.

According to Paul Khlebnikov, chief editor of Forbes Russia, the behaviour of Russia's richest people is changing.

"Russia's entering a new stage of capitalism, moving away from the shadow economy, moving away from a black-market type of mentality, towards a more civilised, transparent, open form of capitalism."

Anger

However, some businessmen were unhappy to appear on the list, local newspapers reported.

"They [the magazine] couldn't find a worse time and place... Personally the only reaction that I get from discussing personal wealth in our country is high blood pressure," one businessman told the business daily Vedomosti.

"Appearing on such a list is bound to make the entrepreneur a prime target for the law enforcement authorities," another businessman said.

In the spring of 2003 Forbes published a list of 100 richest people in China, which, reportedly, led to some of them being arrested.

Roman Abramovich, David Davidovich, Andrei Gorodilov and Valery Oif who made their fortunes at Sibneft oil company are furious at being named, Vedomosti continued.

"The rating has no connection with reality, the numbers are wildly speculative, the methodology used by the magazine is clouded in darkness," a Sibneft spokesman told the newspaper.


SEE ALSO:
Profile: Mikhail Khodorkovsky
03 Nov 03  |  Business
Yukos tax evasion case adjourned
07 May 04  |  Business


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