Chelsea owner slips in Russia’s rich rankings

Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich owns nine homes, seven apartments, seven cars and earned £3-billion last year, according to a wealth declaration released as part of his country’s election law.

The owner of London’s Chelsea football club holds stakes in seven companies, including the one that owns the football club he bought in 2003. The declaration is required for those seeking public office. Abramovich is getting ready to run for re-election as a deputy in the far-eastern province of Chukotka.

For the first time Abramovich has slipped from Russia’s top three, according to a rich list released by Finans Magazine. According to the rating, Abramovich is now worth £11-billion and is Russia’s fifth-richest man. Above him are metals magnates Vladimir Lisin (£18,3-billion), Mikhail Prokhorov (£14,7-billion), Alisher Usmanov (£12,9-billion) and Oleg Deripaska (£12,3-billion).

Abramovich declared that he owned nine houses: one in Britain, two in the US, three in France and three in Russia. His UK house is his smallest, at 200m². His largest is a 2 421m² property outside Moscow.

What he lacks in houses in Britain he makes up for in apartments, owning six that range in size from 35m² to 481m². He also owns an apartment in Chukotka. The declaration shows that Abramovich owns five BMWs and Mercedes cars, plus a Volkswagen Golf and a Range Rover.

There is no word on how many yachts and private jets the oligarch keeps — the information is not required by Russia’s election commission — but Abramovich is known to own the world’s largest private yacht, the 164m Eclipse.

“There’s absolutely nothing new in there that hasn’t been disclosed before,” said John Mann, Abramovich’s spokesman. “If anything, perhaps the fact that the Russian properties are listed first will encourage reporters to stop reporting falsely that his principal home is London.” Mann declined to say where the oligarch was at the moment.

Abramovich was governor of the Chukotka region until July 2008 and has held the position of regional deputy since October 2008. Vladimir Putin, the Russian prime minister, has said Abramovich’s wealth should be put to good use as the country prepares to host the 2018 Fifa World Cup.

The Finans Magazine rating showed that Russia’s billionaires have begun to recover from the global financial crisis, listing a record number of dollar billionaires — 114 in 2010 compared with the previous high of 101 in 2007. — Guardian News & Media 2011

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