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Monday, December 29, 1997 Published at 04:19 GMT


Billionaire Getty granted UK passport
image: [ Philanthropist John Paul Getty has become a UK citizen ]
Philanthropist John Paul Getty has become a UK citizen

Billionaire philanthropist J Paul Getty II has been granted British citizenship after living in England for 25 years.

The heir to what was once the world's largest private oil fortune, Mr Getty received his British passport the week before Christmas and immediately revoked his US citizenship.

Mr Getty, who rarely gives interviews, has not publicised the move. But the Sunday Telegraph reported that he was delighted at the speed with which the application was processed.

The US government was by contrast thought to be very disappointed with the development.

The Forbes magazine list of the 400 richest Americans estimates Mr Getty's fortune at $1bn (598m).

Friends were quoted as saying the prospect of a major increase in his tax bill as a result of taking British citizenship had not deterred Mr Getty, an admirer of the British way of life.

Mr Getty is one of Britain's greatest benefactors. In 1986, he received an honorary knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II for his philanthropy.

According to the Sunday Telegraph, Mr Getty is believed to have given away more than 120m to deserving causes in Britain.

He gave 50m to the National Gallery, 20m to the British Film Institute, and millions in smaller donations, often anonymous, to other charities and causes.

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