Rich List billions burned on recession bonfire

The recession has cost Britain's richest 1000 people almost $400 billion, according to Britain's Sunday Times newspaper.

The 2009 Sunday Times Rich List shows the biggest annual fall since the list was first compiled 21 years ago. Only three people on the list increased their wealth.

The number of people on the list has fallen from 75 to 43. Between them, people ranked in the top 100 lost $236 billion. The Rich List's biggest loser, Lakshmi Mittal, lost $43 billion from the collapse of the world steel market this year. However, with a fortune worth $27 billion, he remains the richest person in Britain.

His losses are more than three times the level of Russian oligarch and Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich, his nearest rival in the downshifting stakes, who lost $12 billion. Abramovich's remaining $18 billion makes him the second richest person in Britain.

The Duke of Westminster is the richest Briton, and still in third position overall with a fortune of $16 billion. His London property assets have shrunk more slowly, losing $1.2 billion in value. Thirty-eight people in the list have lost more.

The bottom line required for a place on the Rich List rose from $77 million in 2003 to $205 million last year. Now a fortune of $140 million is sufficient to join the list. The combined wealth of those on the list is now $663 billion, compared with $1061 billion last year.

- NZ Herald

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