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Bernie is Britain's biggest earner

BRITAIN's fascination for the rich has resulted in the highly popular Sunday Times Rich List, which features the people that the newspaper estimate to be the richest in Britain, based on their earnings and assets. In recent years Bernie╩Ecclestone has been climbing quietly up the list and last March was named (with his wife) as the sixth richest people in Britain with a fortune estimated to be worth around $3.5bn.

So popular is the Rich List that the newspaper has now decided to cash in and has produced a list of the biggest annual earners and in 2000 Ecclestone comes out on top, having made $878m by selling his 50% shareholding in the Formula 1 group of companies. This is based on the money he received from American finance company Hellman Friedman and does not include the money he made when he sold an early shareholding to Morgan Grenfell Private Equity.

According to the newspaper Ecclestone's earnings are equivalent to 80,000 people earning the minimum national wage and he earned nearly twice as much as the second person on the list, discount clothing magnate John Hargreaves.

Ecclestone is expected to be close to the top of the Rich List when The Sunday Times publishes the next Rich List in the Spring of 2001 although much will depend on the valuation of the Formula One group of companies by then, based on what happens to Thomas Haffa's shareholding in the business.

Queen Elizabeth II was only 70th on the list of biggest annual earners with an annual income of $18.5m.

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