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Moscow Tops New York for Billionaires

Russia nearly doubled its number of billionaires this year, producing 101 of the 1,210 world's wealthiest people, compared with 62 last year, Forbes magazine said in its annual world billionaires ranking.

The country ranked third by number of billionaires, coming after the United States and China, which produced 413 billionaires and 115 billionaires, respectively, Forbes said in a list published late Wednesday.

The magazine also said Moscow had won back its status as the world's billionaire capital, from last year's champion New York.

The surge in commodities prices helped fuel the presence of the country's biggest steel magnates in the top 100 of the Forbes list.

Novolipetsk Steel chairman Vladimir Lisin retained his crown as Russia's wealthiest person, growing his fortune to $24 billion from $15.8 billion in 2010.

Lisin, who is also the sole owner of Universal Cargo Logistics, was ranked 14th, making him the only Russian in the top 20. The businessmen rose from 32nd place in last year's ranking.

Alexei Mordashov, owner of steelmaker Severstal, placed 29th with a total fortune of $18.5 billion, growing from last year's $9.9 billion.

Mordashov increased his wealth largely because of the recovery in steel prices, Forbes said, adding that sales of Severstal's international assets would allow the businessman to "focus on his Russian interests."

Last year, Severstal sold 51 percent of its loss-making Italian unit Lucchini and is now seeking to sell the rest. The company also owns loss-making steel plants in the United States.

Other prominent Russian billionaires significantly strengthened their positions on the list over last year.

Alisher Usmanov, owner of the country's biggest iron ore producer Metalloinvest, earned $17.7 billion, jumping from 100th to 35th place.

Although the largest part of Usmanov's fortune comes from Metalloinvest, betting on technology assets also helped the businessman increase his wealth, which grew by $10.5 billion compared with his net worth at the end of 2009, Forbes said.

Internet firm Mail.ru Group, co-owned by Usmanov, had a successful share float in 2010, raising $900 million in London. The billionaire's Digital Sky Technologies also invested in Facebook, Zynga Game Network and social-commerce web site Groupon.

"All these assets are worth at least triple what they were a year ago," Forbes said in comments to the ranking.

Mail.ru Group co-owner Yury Milner, with a fortune of $1 billion, is among the most notable newcomers to the Forbes list.

RusAl head Oleg Deripaska ranked 36th, after Usmanov, with a fortune of $16.8 billion.

Deripaska, who rose from last year's 57th place, has been in an ongoing battle with Interros head Vladimir Potanin over control of Norilsk Nickel. A company extraordinary shareholders meeting, initiated by RusAl, will decide Friday whether to elect a new board of directors for Norilsk.

Potanin, with a net worth of $17.8 billion, was ranked 34th, breathing down the neck of Onexim Group president Mikhail Prokhorov, who rose seven notches to 32nd place, with a fortune of $18 billion.

Viktor Vekselberg more than doubled his fortune to $13 billion, after the value of his stake in TNK-BP jumped by 70 percent to reach $5.4 billion. Forbes ranked Vekselberg 57th, compared with 113th place last year.

It was China's demand for commodities that resulted in the growing number of new Russian billionaires and the increasing wealth of those who had previously been in the list, said Chris Weafer, chief strategist at UralSib.

At the same time, domestic expansion of the technology and retail sectors amid investor concerns that Russia is too reliant on raw materials resulted in a growing number of new billionaires coming from those sectors, he said by telephone.

Another factor was the growth of the local stock market, which surged by almost 20 percent last year, said Yaroslav Lissovolik, chief economist at Deutsche Bank Russia.

Shares represent the largest part of the billionaires' assets, and stock market growth "supported the financial positions of the population's wealthiest representatives," he told The Moscow Times.

Meanwhile, a number of Russian billionaires sank to the bottom, with Yelena Baturina, wife of former Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov, being among the biggest losers, as she slid to 993rd place from the 342nd position last year.

Investigators suspect Baturina, whose fortune dropped from almost $3 billion to $1.2 billion, of illegally obtaining about 13 billion rubles ($456 million) from Bank of Moscow.

Moscow, with 79 of the world's wealthiest people, "now has more billionaires than any other city," Forbes said.

The Fortune 101
Russian rankWorld rankNameWealth, $blnIndustry
114Vladimir Lisin24Steel
229Alexei Mordashov18.5Steel
332Mikhail Prokhorov18Investments
434Vladmir Potanin17.8Nonferrous metals
535Alisher Usmanov17.7Steel, telecoms, stocks
636Oleg Deripaska16.8Aluminum
743Mikhail Fridman15.1Oil, banking, telecoms
850Vagit Alekperov13.9Oil
953Roman Abramovich13.4Steel, investments
1057Viktor Vekselberg13Oil, metals
1170Viktor Rashnikov11.2Steel
1288Iskander Makhmudov9.9Mining, metals, machinery
1392German Khan9.6Oil, banking, telecoms
1493Dmitry Rybolovlev9.5Fertilizers
1599Leonid Mikhelson9.1Natural gas
16102Igor Zyuzin8.9Steel
17105Andrei Melnichenko8.6Coal, fertilizers
18117Sergei Popov7.9Banking, coal
19118Suleiman Kerimov7.8Investments
20120Vladimir Yevtushenkov7.7Telecoms
21124Alexander Abramov7.5Steel, mining
21124Alexei Kuzmichyov7.5Oil, banking, telecoms
23133Leonid Fedun7.1Oil
24185Boris Ivanshvili5.5Investments
24185Sergei Galitsky5.5Retail
24185Gennady Timchenko5.5Oil trading
27193Nikolai Tsvetkov5.3Banking, retail
28235Pyotr Aven4.5Oil, banking, telecoms
29281Andrei Skoch3.9Metals
30304Vasily Anisimov3.6Metals, real estate
31310Filaret Galchev3.5Construction materials
32336Vladimir Bogdanov3.3Oil
32336Alexander Frolov3.3Mining, steel
34347Dmitry Pumpyansky3.2Steel pipes
34347Andrei Molchanov3.2Construction materials
36420Vadim Novinsky2.7Steel
36420Andrei Klyamko2.7Steel
38459Mikhail Gutseriyev2.5Oil, real estate
38459Alexander Nesis2.5Metals, banking, fertilizers
40512Alexander Mamut2.3Investments
40512Mikhail Balakin2.3Construction
40512Andrei Guryev2.3Fertilizers
40512Anatoly Skurov2.3Coal
44564Alexander Lebedev2.1Investments, banking
44564Alexander Dzhaparidze2.1Oil services
44564Ziyad Manasir2.1Construction
47595Valery Kogan2Airports
48651Rustam Tariko1.9Banking
48651Alexei Ananyev1.9Banking, IT, real estate
48651Dmitry Ananyev1.9Banking, IT, real estate
48651Anatoly Sedykh1.9Steel pipes
52692Lev Kvetnoi1.8Cement, airports
52692Igor Kasayev1.8Tobacco distribution, retail
52692Valentin Bukhtoyarov1.8Coal
52692Alexander Shchukin1.8Coal
52692Vladimir Melnichenko1.8Coal
57736Alexander Ponomarenko1.7Ports
57736Alexander Skorobogatko1.7Ports
59782David Davidovich1.6Food, metals
59782Vyacheslav Kantor1.6Fertilizers, real estate
59782Gleb Fetisov1.6Telecoms, finance
59782Megdet Rakhimkulov1.6Investments
59782Vadim Moshkovich1.6Agriculture, development
64833Andrei Kozitsyn1.5Metals
64833Danil Khachaturov1.5Insurance, banking, real estate
64833Sergei Sarkisov1.5Insurance, real estate
64833Nikolai Sarkisov1.5Insurance, real estate
64833Aras Agalarov1.5Retail, real estate
64833Yury Kovalchuk1.5Banking, insurance, media
64833Viktor Kharitonin1.5Pharmaceuticals
64833Dmitry Mazepin1.5Chemicals
72879Vladimir Gridin & family1.4Coal, engineering
72879Samvel Karapetyan1.4Development
74938Gennady Kozovoi1.3Coal
74938Alexander Vagin1.3Coal
76993Yelena Baturina1.2Construction
76993Andrei Kosogov1.2Oil, telecoms, banking
76993Andrei Rogachyov1.2Retail
76993Pyotr Kondrashov1.2Fertilizers
76993Gavril Yushvayev1.2Food industries, real estate
76993Anatoly Lomakin1.2Fertilizers
76993Nikolai Maximov& family1.2Investments
76993Mikhail Abyzov1.2Power
841057Igor Altushkin1.1Metals
841057Alexander Putilov1.1Oil
841057Zarakh Iliyev1.1Real estate
841057God Nisanov1.1Real estate
841057Arkady Rotenberg1.1Construction, pipes, finance
841057Konstantin Nikolayev1.1Ports, railway transport
841057Nikita Mishin1.1Ports, railway transport
841057Andrei Filatov1.1Ports, railway transport
841057Dmitry Kamenshchik1.1Airports
841057Andrei Kuzyayev1.1Telecoms, oil service, real estate
941140Oleg Boiko1Entertainment, retail, real estate
941140Andrei Komarov1Manufacturing
941140Yury Milner1Social networking
941140Andrei Borodin1Banking
941140Vadim Yakunin1Pharmaceuticals
941140Alexander Girda1Retail
941140Dmitry Korzhev1Retail
941140Dmitry Troitsky1Retail

Source: forbes.com

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