With a mammoth wealth of 13.1 billion pounds, India-born Reuben brothers, David and Simon, topped The Sunday Times Rich List 2016. Rising real estate value made their fortune take a huge jump to 3.4 billion pounds and clinch the top spot from last year’s fifth position. They were followed by the Hinduja brothers with a total wealth of 13 billion pounds.
Business Standard takes a look at other such interesting facts about the brothers.
Who are these brothers?
Simon, at the start of his career, was an importer of carpets before he went on to buy a manufacturer in 1965 and sold it at a profit years later. These proceeds were invested in real estate. David, on the other hand, was involved in trading of metals before he set up his own metal trading firm — Trans World in 1977.
The duo had made their fortune by taking ‘brave’ move of entering Russian aluminium market and purchased huge chunks of the business there. They had to, eventually, wrap up the business as business climate in the country is said to have turned hostile after Vladimir Putin took over. But their real estate and other businesses in the UK have helped them amass this wealth today.
What are their prominent investments?
Currently, the brothers own many prominent properties in London. It includes Millbank Tower, the John Lewis Partnership HQ in Victoria, shops in Sloane Street, London Oxford Airport and London Heliport. In their most recent investments, they are said to be leading investors in Metro Bank, which was floated last month. Overseas property and metal businesses added 300 million pound to their wealth.
What is their India connection?
The brothers were born to an Iraqi-Jewish family in Byculla area of Mumbai. Their family is said to have lived in British India in the 1800s. The duo moved to London during their teenage when their parents separated. They were raised by their mother and grandmother.
Have they been involved in controversies?
Their aluminium business in Russia was marred by controversies as their partnership with Lev Chernoy raised eyebrows. Chernoy was later alleged to have ties with the Russian Mafia. However, it was also reported that there was no evidence to suggest that their dealing was not legal. In his defence, he told a publication, "I was the only westerner to succeed in a place that's like a toilet (read Russia) and you always come out of a toilet with a smell."
Back home, the brothers had bailed out Sahara chief Subrata Roy, where they had inked Rs 5,500-crore refinancing deal, which included three marquee hotels from being sold off on default.
What are their interests apart from core businesses?
Apart from their investments in real estate and metals, the brothers are said to be involved in philanthropic work. They set up Reuben Foundation to participate in such activities.
Their website lists work in the areas of children and education, health, communities along with contributions for several charities and organisations.