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Number of Billionaires Swells to 114

The number of the country's billionaires reached 114 last year, eclipsing the record 101 total reached three years ago, Finans magazine said.

The wealth of the country’s 10 richest people increased 30 percent to $139 billion, the Moscow-based weekly said in a statement before its annual rich list edition is published Feb. 14. That compares with the record $221 billion estimated wealth for the top 10 in 2008.

Roman Abramovich, owner of London’s Chelsea football club, fell out of the top three for the first time in the magazine’s ranking, Finans said, without naming any other billionaires on the list.

It took $160 million to make this year’s top 500, $10 million more than in 2008, Finans said.

Last year, Vladimir Lisin, owner of Novolipetsk Steel, leapfrogged New Jersey Nets basketball team owner Mikhail Prokhorov and Abramovich to become the richest Russian, with an estimated $18.8 billion.

Russia’s economy expanded 4 percent last year, after a revised 7.8 percent contraction in 2009, the steepest decline on record, the State Statistics Service said Jan. 31.

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