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Russian richest person in New Zealand

New Zealand’s wealthiest person is a Russian.


NZ dollars

New Zealand‘s wealthiest person is a Russian.

Steel magnate Alexander Abramov, valued at $7 billion, has topped the National Business Review’s 2012 Rich List, replacing $6b business tycoon Graeme Hart

Abramov keeps a low profile, but is currently building a $40 million luxury waterfront home in the Bay of Islands.

He is ranked just inside the top 200 on the Forbes’ billionaires list at 189.

Five new foreign investors have injected $13.4b into the list, and increasing the number of billionaires from six to nine, skyrocketing the combined total value up to $57.7b from $45.2b in 2011, Fairfax NZ reported.

But the 152 locally-grown moneybags actually saw a slight dip in collective wealth, down 2 per cent to $44.3b.

NBR said the international additions were designed to reflect the globalisation of wealth, with most investing enough to earn residency rights.

Among those were New York arts patron Julian Robertson ($3b) at number four on the list, owner of  three luxury lodges in NZ.

American William Foley ($1.5b) is buying up New Zealand wineries and owns a luxury lodge in the Wairarapa, not far from fellow new Rich Lister and filmmaker James Cameron’s ($900m) home-base.

The Waikato’s adopted aristocrat Dowager Duchess Henrietta Bedford ($1b) adds some blue blood to the list, with extensive property interests throughout the country.

NBR uses valuations of listed shares, sales of private companies and other valuation techniques to estimate the wealth of those ranked.

Right at the bottom, Prime Minister John Key was teetering on the $50m cut-off threshold, down $5m from last year.

The Prime Minister, who made his money as a currency trader owns several properties around New Zealand and around the world.

Because of his political position, his money is invested for him in a blind trust, meaning he doesn’t actually know where it is held so cannot be accused of political interference for his own benefit.

There were a total of 157 Rich Listers this year, including 96 men, just five women, 47 families and nine pairs/couples.