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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 April, 2004, 04:33 GMT 05:33 UK
Chelsea owner UK's 'richest man'
Chelsea boss Roman Abramovich
Abramovich is worth an estimated 7.5bn
Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich is Britain's richest man, having amassed a fortune of 7.5bn.

The 37-year-old is also the sixth wealthiest person in Europe and ranks 22nd in the world, according to the Sunday Times Rich List 2004.

He has knocked the Duke of Westminster into second place with an estimated 5bn fortune.

Ranking the UK's 1,000 wealthiest people, a fortune of 40m is now required to enter the Times elite list.

The Rich List estimates the combined wealth of Britain's wealthiest has jumped to 202.42bn in 2004 from 155.86bn last year - a record 30% increase.

Thirty billionaires alone feature this year, compared to 21 last year.

Property fortune

Since buying Chelsea last July, Abramovich spends much of his time at his town house in London's Belgravia or on his 440-acre Sussex estate.

The bulk of Abramovich's wealth comes from Sibneft, the oil business he bought with Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky in 1995.

Abramovich was left in charge of Sibneft after Berezovsky went into exile and his stake is now worth 5.3bn.

He also has another 1bn of holdings in food production, aluminium and pharmaceuticals groups.

Top 10 on the Rich List
Sir Richard Branson
Roman Abramovich (7.5bn)
The Duke of Westminster (5bn)
Hans Rausing & family (4.95bn)
Philip Green (3.61bn)
Lakshmi Mittal (3.5bn)
Sir Richard Branson(2.6bn)
Kirsten and Jorn Rausing (2.575bn)
Bernie and Slavica Ecclestone (2.323bn)
Charlene and Michel de Carvalho (2.26bn)
David and Simon Reuben (2.2bn)

The Duke of Westminster, whose three-year reign at the top of the list came to an end, amassed his fortune in land, in London's Mayfair and Belgravia.

Property plays a major role in the growth of British wealth, with a quarter of the 1,000 richest involved in some way in the building industry - owning, trading or buying properties.

Third on the rich list is Hans Rausing, the Swedish-born, Sussex-based Tetra Pak billionaire, having dropped one place with a fortune of 4.95bn.

The Rausing family are high in the charitable stakes too - giving away nearly 30m in donations in the past year alone, they are Britain's fourth biggest benefactors.

The Sigrid Rausing Trust gives most. This family charitable vehicle allocated 9.8m last year to human rights, women's issues and social and environmental causes in the UK and worldwide.

Businessman Philip Green, 52, who ranked sixth in 2003, has risen to fourth place with 3.61bn, thanks largely to his stakes in Bhs and Acadia - which owns retailers such as Top Shop and Dorothy Perkins.

Hot property

Steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, who recently purchased the world's most expensive house valued at 70m, ranks fifth overall with 3.5bn, up from 12th position in 2003 when he had 1.31bn.

Mittal's LNM is the world's second largest steel company and is valued at 2.3 bn.

Sir Richard Branson, 53, who has failed to make it into the top ten since 2000, is back in at sixth place with 2.6bn, up from 15th place last year when he was worth 1.25bn.

The 16th annual Sunday Times Rich List is based on ownership of property, land and other assets such as art and racehorses, or significant shares in publicly quoted companies. It excludes bank accounts.

The list is compiled by Philip Beresford, the leading authority on British wealth, and edited by Ian Coxon.

The BBC's Jane Warr
"A list which includes many people from other countries"

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