#1 Richest: Rinat Akhmetov, 44

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Dec. 17, 2010 03:14
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Anastasiya Syrotkina
Photo by None
$23.593 billion
Married with two sons
Interests: Metallurgy, energy, machine-building, finance, real estate, telecoms, retail, agriculture, media, sport and others
In the year that his political ally Viktor Yanukovych became Ukraine’s president, Rinat Akhmetov’s fortune rocketed. He’s worth almost as much as the rest of the top 10 put together.

Ukraine’s richest man also staked a claim to a new epithet – Ukrainian nationalist.

After snapping up top steelmaker Illich in July, which had allegedly come under attack from Russian raiders, he explained that the purchase not only made economic sense but was also a “patriotic” move.

The deal gave Akhmetov a controlling stake in a steel mill valued at more than $2 billion for the knockdown price of $600-$860 million, according to Dragon Capital analysts – surely the deal of the year.

His Metinvest – the metallurgical arm of his System Capital Management holding company – is now one of the world’s top 20 steelmakers.

The purchase of Illich came after Akhmetov had missed out on another top steel plant, Zaporizhstal, snapped up from under his nose by investors linked with the Russian government.

Akhmetov, a Party of Regions lawmaker, is also angling for control of Kyiv’s Central Department Store, which he might just turn into a local version of London’s Harrods.

Perhaps he was inspired by the humiliation suffered by his soccer team Shakhtar Donetsk in February, when they were barred from entering Harrods for being inappropriately dressed.

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