Home Estate Planning Russian-born billionaire and former F1 boss tops the richest tax list

Russian-born billionaire and former F1 boss tops the richest tax list

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A Moscow-born billionaire and former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone topped this year’s Times tax list, but not for the same reasons.

Alex Gerko, the founder of algorithmic trading firm XTX Markets, contributed £664.5m to the HM Treasury last year. It was reported that he said that he is “happy to pay a tonne of taxes”.

Gerko’s £664.5m contribution is the highest sum ever to feature in the Tax List and is equivalent to more than £1.8m of tax a day or £75,000 an hour. Gerko, who has renounced his Russian citizenship, nearly doubled his net worth in just one year.

This is the second time he topped the list as the highest taxpayer in the UK after he paid more than £487m in tax in 2022.

Coming in next was the convicted fraudster Ecclestone, as the F1 tycoon paid £652.6m to the Treasury last year, but it was a reluctant second place for him.

This comes as he failed to declare more than £400m in assets in 2022 and was charged with fraud by the Crown Prosecution Service.

He was set to face trial last November, but in October he admitted to fraud. He agreed to make a payment of more than £650m and was also sentenced to 17 months in prison, suspended for two years.

Sir Tim Martin, founder of JD Wetherspoon, paid £167.1m in tax last year, up from £123.2m recorded in the previous year.

Martin, whose company currently runs 816 pubs across the country, was knighted in the New Year honours list.

The Times list showed an increase in contribution from Sir James Dyson and family as they paid £156m last year, up from £93m paid over 2022.

It was reported last year that Dyson is pouring £100m into a new technology centre in the UK, in addition to a new site in the Philippines and factory in Singapore, as part of its £2.75bn five-year investment plan.

Mike Ashley, the Frasers Group tycoon (formally known as Sports Direct), which owns Jack Wills, House of Fraser, Game and now MatchesFashion, paid £139.4m to the Treasury last year.

Last October, his group offloaded the Missguided brand and its intellectual property to Chinese fast fashion giant Shein — just one year after it bought the online retailer. 

Gambling giant Bet365 chief and co-founder Denise Coates along with John and Peter Coates tax payment dropped to £375.9m last year, falling from £460.2m they paid over 2022.

The betting firm’s latest filing on Companies House showed for the year to March 2023, that while its revenue soared, it still made a loss of £69m after expanding into the US and China.

Despite the loss, Coates was paid £220m for the year, making her one of the highest-paid executives in the country. Coates also paid herself at least £421m in the year to March 2020, despite a decline in revenue in the run-up to the pandemic.

The Times also noted that after political pressure Akshata Murty, the Prime Minister’s wife, now pays UK tax on her dividends from Infosys, an Indian IT firm co-founded by her father.

The paper calculated that she is liable for tax of about £4.8m, but the sum was too small to justify inclusion on their list.

The one hundred individuals and families on the list paid £5.353bn worth of tax, The Times stated this was three per cent more than a year ago.

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