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Russia's oligarchs lose 70% of their wealth in a year

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Russia's hard-up oligarchs have seen their collective fortunes shrink to a paltry $148bn (£100bn), Forbes Russia said today in its colourful annual survey of the country's crisis-battered 100 richest people.The number of Russian billionaires has slumped from 110 last year to 32, while their assets – valued at $520bn in 2008 – have dropped by 70%, according to the magazine's latest survey.

Russia's richest man, according to Forbes, is party-loving 43-year-old bachelor Mikhail Prokhorov. He sold his stake in the mining company Norilsk Nickel just before the crisis struck. His fortune is put at $9.5bn.

In second place is Roman Abramo­vich, the owner of Chelsea FC, whose net worth fell heavily from $24.3bn in 2008 to $8.5bn.

But the biggest, most significant loser is Oleg Deripaska, who last year was Russia's richest man. Deripaska is now worth $3.5bn, according to Forbes, down from $28.6bn. He has struggled to repay multibillion loans from western banks used to expand his aluminium and building empire.

"The decrease in their combined wealth has been spectacular," Forbes Russia's editor-in-chief Maxim Kashulinksy told the Guardian today. "Last year you needed $1.1bn to get on the list. Now it's $400m."

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