In Depth

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

Recommended

Tik-tots: the rules for children on social media
The latest on . . .

Tik-tots: the rules for children on social media

Luna’s death spiral
An electronic board at a cryptocurrency exchange in Seoul
Why we’re talking about . . .

Luna’s death spiral

When will the Elizabeth line open?
The Elizabeth line entrance at Liverpool Street station in London
In Focus

When will the Elizabeth line open?

Is it worth paying off a student loan early?
University students graduate at Bath Abbey
Between the lines

Is it worth paying off a student loan early?

Popular articles

Is Russian President Vladimir Putin seriously ill?
Vladimir Putin
Why we’re talking about . . .

Is Russian President Vladimir Putin seriously ill?

Are assassins trying to kill Putin?
Vladimir Putin hosting a meeting in the Kremlin via video link
Behind the scenes

Are assassins trying to kill Putin?

What could happen if China invaded Taiwan?
Chinese troops on mobile rocket launchers during a parade in Beijing
Fact file

What could happen if China invaded Taiwan?

The Week Footer Banner