Page 3 Profile: Alisher Usmanov, Britain's richest man


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The Independent Online

It’s alright for some, isn’t it?

In these times of biting austerity, many will find it difficult to feel jubilant for Mr Usmanov, who is now the UK and Ireland’s wealthiest person, according to The Sunday Times Rich List, published yesterday. His business empire, which started with a company making plastic bags, now includes a 30 per cent stake in Arsenal football club, and Russia’s largest iron ore producer. He’s worth £13.3 billion, up £985m on last year, when he came second on the list.

Not an awful lot of British and Irish money there?

Quite. One of the most notable changes since the Rich List began 25 years ago is a move from “old money” inherited by British aristocrats, to new money, earned mostly overseas. In 1989 the Queen topped the list.

Do we trust this guy?

He spent six years in jail in Uzbekistan in the 1980s, but his conviction for fraud, corruption and stealing from the state was overturned. More recently, the PR firm representing him, Finsbury, was caught altering his Wikipedia entry.

How does he relax?

He was a pretty decent fencer in his youth, and his wife is a rhythmic gymnastics coach. Coupled with his interests at Arsenal, it’s a safe bet he gets a kick out of sports. He also owns a £48 million mansion in north London, which must be nice to kick back in after a hard day’s work.