Alisher Usmanov, the Russian tycoon who owns nearly a third of the Arsenal Premier League soccer club, has ousted steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal from his position as Britain's wealthiest person.
Mittal spent eight years at the top of The Sunday Times rich list, but has dropped to fourth place in this year's survey, after his estimated fortune fell by £2.7 billion (HK$31.9 billion) to £10 billion.
The 40 per cent stake held by Mittal and his wife, Usha, in steelmaker ArcelorMittal has dropped as the value of the company's shares fell from more than €12 (HK$120) a year ago to €9, hit by the global economic downturn and cheap competition.
But Usmanov moved from second on the list to top after the value of his assets rose by £985 million to £13.3 billion.
The business empire of Russia's richest man 's business empire started with the manufacture of plastic bags but now encompasses iron ore producer Metalloinvest, a major stake in mobile phone operator MegaFon and a share in mail.ru  internet group.
Usmanov also owns Sutton Place, the £48 million London mansion that was once home to oil baron J Paul Getty. Umanov made £1.6 billion last year by selling Facebook shares when the social media group listed on the stock market.
The annual rich list is dominated by Russian and Indian billionaires. The highest ranking Briton is the Duke of Westminster, worth £7.8 billion thanks to his property holdings in Mayfair and Belgravia, central London. He is ranked eighth.
TheSunday Times also reported that Michael Ashcroft, the former treasurer of Britain's Conservative party, next month would pledge to give at least half of his £1.2 billion fortune to charity.
The biggest riser was Russia's Len Blavatnik, owner of Warner Music, whose wealth climbed by £3.4 billion to £11 billion after an increase in the value of his shareholdings.
Belying Britain's tough economic conditions, the number of billionaires climbed to 88 from 77 last year. Since the list was first published in 1989, the top 200's combined wealth has jumped from £38 billion to £318.2 billion. In the first list, the richest person was the Queen, with £5.2 billion.
Additional reporting by Reuters