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Russia sees rise in billionaires

Russia’s tycoons have come back remarkably in 2010 as the country has set a new record for its number of billionaires. According to Finans magazine, Russia has 114 dollar billionaires, compared with less than 50 at the end of 2008 when the credit crisis saw the fortunes of the country’s billionaires drastically drop.

According to the top 500 rich list compiled by Russian magazine Finans', everyone on the list is worth at least $160 million, with the top 10 wealthiest Russians together worth $182 billion, up by 30% from $139 billion in 2009.

Experts attribute the surge in wealth to growth in the local stock market and rising demand for oil and raw materials, particularly from the booming Chinese economy. The Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange index rose by 23% in 2010 after falling by almost 15% in 2008/09.

Steel magnate Vladimir Lisin, chairman of NLMK Steel, topped the list with an estimated fortune of $28.3 billion. Second on the list is owner of the New Jersey Nets and president of private investment fund Onexim, Mikhail Prokhorov, with an estimated net worth of $22.7 billion.

Previously ranked third in 2010, Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich (pictured) lost his position to Alisher Usmanov, part owner of Arsenal Football Club, whose fortune is worth around $19.9 billion.

Usmanov was followed by Oleg Deripaska, majority shareholder in steel maker UC Rusal, estimated by Finans to be worth $19 billion. And in fifth place is Abramovich with wealth of $17.1 billion.

The top 100 featured just one woman – Yelena Baturina, wife of the ousted mayor of Moscow, who slipped 47 positions to the 94th place and is estimated to be worth $1.1 billion.

The report also reveals that Russia lost more billionaires than any other country during the financial crisis – the number dropped to 49 towards the end of 2008, rising to 77 in 2009.

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