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A billion dollars not enough for Russian rich list

In Hungary

One billion dollars is no longer enough to gain entry to Russia’s rich list. Ten billionaires failed to make Forbes magazine’s annual list of the 100 richest Russians that is led by those who built their fortunes on the country’s metals resources.

Oleg Deripaska, who controls aluminium producer United Company Rusal among a host of infrastructure, energy and financial assets, tops the latest Forbes list with a fortune of $28.6 billion -- $11.8 billion more, than he was worth last year. Deripaska replaces Chelsea soccer club owner Roman Abramovich, who drops to third. The two are split by Alexei Mordashov, majority owner of Severstal, Russia’s largest steel maker. “After the bankruptcy of Yukos and the strengthening of the state’s position in the energy sector, you can count on one hand the number of oil and gas billionaires,” Maxim Kashulinsky, editor of Forbes’ Russian edition, said in a statement to accompany the launch of the May edition. “The main fortunes are concentrated now in metallurgy, finance and property.”

Mordashov was the biggest gainer among Russia’s richest, adding $12.4 billion to more than double his fortune to $24.5 billion. Abramovich, in third place, is worth $24.3 billion. Another steel baron, Novolipetsk Steel owner Vladimir Lisin, is fourth with a fortune of $23.9 billion. Forbes said in a statement that Russia’s richest 100 people had a combined fortune of $522 billion -- 3.8 times more than the total, when Forbes first published a Russian list in 2004.

Russia now has 50 more billionaires, than a year ago -- 110 compared with 60. This year $1.1 billion was required to break into the top 100, compared with $660 million a year ago. Another reason for the increase in dollar billionaires, Forbes said, was the fall in the value of the US currency. (Reuters)

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