Billionaire Alisher Usmanov has lost his claim to the title of Russia’s richest man after losing a quarter of his fortune last year as the country’s oligarchs felt sanctions and the rouble crisis bite.
Usmanov, who owns a 30 per cent stake in Arsenal, lost $4.5bn (£3bn) between March and December last year, falling from $18.3bn (£12.1bn) to $13.8bn (£9.2bn) according to research firm Wealth-X.
Fellow billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, owner of Renova Group, overtook Usmanov with a net worth of $14.7m (£9.8bn), despite a loss of $200m (£133m).
Usmanov has previously also topped the Times Rich List as the wealthiest person in Britain, but also slipped down that ranking into second place in early 2014, overtaken by Indian businessmen Sri and Gopi Hinduj.
The Uzbek-born businessman recently hit headlines after spending £3m on the Nobel Prize medal given to James Watson for helping to discover the structure of DNA, only to return it to the 86 year-old scientist.
A third Russian billionaire in Wealth-X’s top five rich list, Mikhail Fridman, also saw his wealth shrink. The founder of Russian investment firm Alfa Group lost $2.7bn, or 18 per cent of his wealth, causing his net worth to fall to $12.5bn from $15.2bn.
One of the country’s most famous oligarchs, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, was more sheltered from Russia’s troubles, ranking fourth in the list with a net worth of $12.7bn ($13.7bn) - an increase of $100m (£66m) since March.
Abramovich’s gains were made from the majority of his assets being tied to non-Russian companies, Wealth-X said. The value of Norilsk Nickel and Evraz PLC, owned by the tycoon’s investment firm Millhouse, rose by 27 per cent and 130 per cent respectively since March, it said.
Alexei Mordashov, Russia's fifth richest man and chief of metal, mining and energy company Severstal, also managed to increase his wealth, up by 15 per cent and more than any other billionaire.