Asian millionaires are getting younger, richer and might just be a woman now, according to the newest Asian Rich List that puts controversial Indian steel tycoon Lakshmi N Mittal at the top of the pile with 900 million pounds and the Hinduja brothers as runners-up with 100 million pounds less.
The Rich List, which has just one Pakistani among the multi-millionaire Indians in the top 10, offers a glowing assessment of Asian success despite the global economic slowdown.
"Asian businessmen are bucking the trend," said the publishers of the list, even as the British Asian community appeared to astound financial analysts by actually getting richer and featuring 50 new millionaires with a combined worth of 562 million pounds in the Rich List.
The list values Britain’s 275 richest Asians at just under 10 billion pounds, an increase of 1 billion on last year.
But rich people, says the List, got poorer too. Mittal, who donated a large sum to Britain’s governing Labour party, is 100 million pounds poorer than last year. Another Labour donor, Lord Swaraj Paul, the sixth richest Asian, is worth 50 million pounds less than last year’s fortune of 330 million pounds.
The only significant increase in the top 10 is the Hindujas’ fortune, but the publishers say the brothers "who have struggled with both political and legal fights this year" have not really got richer, they were wrongly assessed last year.
The allegation of "wrong assessments" is threatening to engulf and undermine the Rich List, with compiler Philip Beresford quoted to say on Wednesday that the steel empire of Mittal, the richest British Indian, could soon collapse.
Sources close to Mittal told this paper that the Rich List’s assessments were inaccurate and, if anything, Mittal was likely to get richer because the controversial Romanian steel plant he bought last year would become profitable by 2003.
The Asian Rich List, which is in its second year and is thought to showcase the Midas touch of Asian businessmen, reveals the growing money-making talents of women and younger people.