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Rich list: Mining magnate sees fortune soar after massacre of protesters

A MINING magnate has seen his fortune soar by £8 billion since a massacre of protesters outside one of his smelters last year.

Analysis by the Star of the Sunday Times’s new Rich List highlighted London-based Anil Agarwal as one of the highest risers among Britain’s 1,000 top toffs, rocketing 62 places to finish in 12th position with a net worth of over £10bn.

The latest league table of Britain’s super-rich has angered Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who called it “a stark reminder of the grotesque inequality that scars our society.”

He warned: “In the interest of transparency, everyone on the list should publish where they are registered to pay tax and how much tax they have paid.”

Mr Agarwal delisted his mining company Vedanta from the London Stock Exchange in October after buying out the other investors, using his Bahamas-based family trust Volcan Investments Ltd to carry out the takeover.

Campaign group Foil Vedanta said the move made Mr Agarwal’s business activities less accountable to shareholders.

The mining magnate has been dogged by criticism since police in south India opened fire on environmental protesters outside one of his company’s subsidiaries in May 2018.

Thirteen activists were gunned down as they demonstrated against the Sterlite copper smelter in Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu. The plant was later shut down.

The company’s operations in Africa are also about to come under intense scrutiny after the Supreme Court ruled last month that Zambian farmers can sue Vedanta in London.

The firm’s subsidiary Konkola Copper Mines is alleged to have turned Zambia’s longest river, the Kafue, bright blue with toxic pollution from its plant.

The Vedanta chairman is just one of 151 billionaires on the rich list, an elite group which has welcomed six more fat cats to its ranks over the last twelve months.

The Hinduja brothers topped the rich list with a combined net worth of £22bn.

Topshop tycoon Sir Philip Green is no longer in the billionaire club however, after his fortune halved in a year.

It is the first time he has not held billionaire status since 2002 and comes after the collapse of department store chain BHS, which he sold for £1.

Mr Corbyn blasted the billionaires by saying: “Year on year, we see the rich getting richer, while pay for the majority hasn’t risen in a decade.

“Labour will reprogramme our economy, so it stops just supporting a tiny few at the top, and starts to reward the many, who do the work, create the wealth, and pay their taxes.”


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