Sainsbury is top Briton on world rich list

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THE DEFINITIVE list of the world's richest dollar billionaires was published yesterday but only featured 11 Britons.

The richest Briton on Forbes magazine's list is Lord Sainsbury, the supermarket magnate. His family fortune is said to be worth pounds 3bn, making him the 75th richest person in the world.

The next Briton to feature is the Duke of Westminster, whose property empire is worth pounds 2bn, and then comes the Littlewoods' Moores family, which owns pounds 1.8bn.

The newest British members of the club are Bernie Ecclestone, the Formula One motor racing magnate, and Joseph Lewis, a currency trader, worth pounds 625m each. Among the other British entries are Richard Branson, the Virgin boss, who has pounds 1.6bn, the new Lord Rothermere (pounds 1bn), Bruno Schroder of the City bank (pounds 937m), and Anthony Bamford, owner of JCB (pounds 875m).

Forbes estimates that the Queen's wealth stands at pounds 450m, but says it would be more than pounds 10bn if the Crown Jewels and Royal Collection were included. Surprisingly, the media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, who is widely perceived as the epitome of capitalist success, is only the 41st richest person in the world.

The first seven places in the list are held by Americans, a fact attributed to the country's booming stockmarket and the proliferation of Internet use. Bill Gates, whose net worth has doubled in the past year, briefly hitting pounds 62bn, before easing back to about pounds 56bn last week, is top of the list for the third year running. Three of the four richest men owe their fortunes to Microsoft, including Paul Allen, Gates's childhood friend and co-founder of Microsoft.

Gates's nearest rival is Warren Buffett, the veteran speculator, who comes second with pounds 22.5bn. Over a dozen of the top 100 dollar billionaires are aged under 50. The youngest person on the list of the top 100 dollar billionaires is Pierre Omidyar, the 31-year-old Internet prodigy whose four-year-old Ebay auction site has made him pounds 4.8bn.

Robson Walton, the head of the Wal-Mart discount supermarket chain which last week bought Britain's Asda, is the seventh richest man in the world, with pounds 9.8bn.

A spokesman for Forbes magazine said: "The rich are getting richer. And they are getting richer faster than ever, thanks to booming stock markets and the Internet."

Saddam Hussein has joined the exclusive billionaires club. The Iraqi leader, with his estimated wealth of pounds 3.7bn acquired through an alleged oil smuggling operation controlled by his eldest son, Uday, is number six on the magazine's list.

Forbes counted 465 billionaires worldwide with a combined worth double that of 10 years ago. Then the world's richest man was Yoshiaki Tsutsumi, the Japanese industrialist, with pounds 10bn. Economic problems have since slashed his fortune to pounds 3bn. He is now near the bottom of the top 100.



Rating in top 465

Wealth in pounds bns

75 Sainsbury family pounds 3bn

140 Duke of Westminster pounds 2bn

171 Moores family pounds 1.8bn

185 Richard Branson pounds 1.6bn

258 Rothschilds pounds 1.1bn

312 Lord Rothermere pounds 1bn

320 Garry Weston and

family pounds 1bn

340 Bruno Schroder pounds 937m

348 Anthony Bamford pounds 875m

442 Bernie Ecclestone pounds 625m

455 Joseph Lewis pounds 625m