Usmanov: five things you might not know about UK's richest man
Billionaire tycoon made money from Facebook, spent six years in prison and met his gymnast wife fencing
RUSSIAN BUSINESSMAN Alisher Usmanov is officially Britain's wealthiest man, according to the Sunday Times rich list. The 59-year-old Uzbek-born oligarch has an estimated £13.3bn fortune which he made through mining and oil companies. Here are five things you might not know about the Arsenal-loving, fencing-mad billionaire:
He started out with plastic bags: According to the International Business Times Usmanov began his career manufacturing plastic bags but soon extended his empire, co-founding mining business Metalloinvest. He also owns a stake in mobile phone operator MegaFon and email business mail.ru, as well as several Russian TV channels and Kommersant, a national newspaper.
He made a billion from Facebook: A keen investor in digital media, he has shares in Groupon, Twitter and Facebook. He made £1.6bn from sales of his shares in Mark Zuckerberg's social network when it was listed on the stock market last year and still retains a stake.
He loves Arsenal: Usmanov owns a 29.95 per cent stake in Arsenal FC, although much to his reported chagrin he is kept off the club's board by majority shareholder Stan Kroenke. The billionaire recently made it clear that if he were in charge he would provide money for big-name transfers, a policy that the current board has rejected.
He enjoys fencing: Usmanov has had a keen interest in fencing since he was 13 and once fenced for the Uzbek Republic – when he met his wife, Irina Viner, now the head coach of Russia's national rhythmic gymnastics team. The billionaire has donated millions of dollars to the sport through a charity fund and was last year re-elected president of the International Fencing Federation, Bloomberg notes.
He spent six years in prison: Last year a PR firm, RLM Finsbury, had to apologise after they were found to be behind a spate of deletions on the oligarch's Wikipedia page. They included mentions of a Soviet-era criminal conviction (for which he spent six years in prison before it was overturned by the Uzbekistan Supreme Court). RLM Finsbury said the deletions had not been authorised or approved by Usmanov.
Rich List top 10:
(2012 positions and how they made their money in brackets)
1. (2) Alisher Usmanov (mining and investment) £13.3bn
2. (5) Len Blavatnik (investment, music and media) £11bn
3. (4) Sri and Gopi Hinduja (industry and finance) £10.6bn
4. (1) Lakshmi Mittal and family (steel) £10bn
5. (3) Roman Abramovich (oil and industry) £9.3bn
6. (9) John Fredriksen and family (shipping and oil services) £8.8bn
7. (8) David and Simon Reuben (property and internet) £8.2bn
8. (7) The Duke of Westminster (property) £7.8bn
9. (6) Ernesto and Kirsty Bertarelli (pharmaceuticals) £7.4bn
10. (11) Charlene and Michel de Carvalho (inheritance, brewing and banking) £7bn