Bernie Ecclestone tops the list of 20 UK taxpayers trader of Russian descent

The largest taxpayer in the UK over the past year has been identified as Bernie Ecclestone, a former Formula One executive and trader of Russian descent.

Ed Sheeran, JK Rowling, and JD Wetherspoon tycoon Sir Tim Martin were among the other well-known figures on the Sunday Times tax list, which was released on Friday. It detailed the total amount that the top 100 contributors paid to the Treasury over the previous 12 months.

The top 100 taxpayers in the last year gave the Exchequer more than £5.353 billion, with financial trader Alex Gerko, who was born in Moscow and founded XTX Markets in 2015, being the largest payer with a record £664.5 million.

Two-thirds of the list paid less tax in 2023 than they did in 2021, despite a 3% increase in contributions. This could be due to a prolonged period of inflation and lower business profits.
People had to give HM Treasury at least £10 million to be listed in the top 100, which is a reduction of £700,000 from the lowest payment made the previous year.

Despite not being included in the list, Akshata Murty, the wife of the prime minister, is believed to have paid £4.8 million in UK taxes on her dividends from Infosys, an Indian IT company that her father co-founded, in response to political pressure.

As millions of people scramble to meet the self-assessment deadline, the newspaper calculated the list based on business profits, share sales, dividends, house purchases, and personal income.

Firmly positioned at the top, Mr. Gerko is well-known for having renounced his Russian citizenship and donated millions to Ukraine in support of their military campaign.

The 44-year-old, who founded XTX Markets and has a massive net worth of $11.4 billion, became a British citizen in 2016 and gave up his Russian citizenship in 2022.

XTX declared that it “fully support(s) the Ukrainian people,” and Mr. Gerko allegedly remarked, “Nuremberg is waiting for you,” about Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Mr. Gerko paid the equivalent of £1.8 million in taxes per day, or £75,000 per hour, and declared himself to be “happy to pay a tonne of taxes.”

Mr. Gerko has surpassed controversial billionaire Mr. Ecclestone, who is ranked second on the tax list due to a payment of £652.6 million made to the tax authorities following his October tax fraud plea.

It is the Bet365 family that follows him. The Coates, Denise, John, and Peter, paid £375.9 million in taxes last year, which is approximately £15 million less than the previous year.

Global pop sensation Ed Sheeran, who paid £39.6 million to land at number 32 on the list, looked to be the youngest person there at the age of 32. J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, paid £40 million to be ranked number 31 on this year’s list.

Here, we examine the 20 taxpayers who are at the top of the list this year:

Top 20 taxpayers in the UK last year

Alex Gerko – Russian-born financial trader – £664.5m

Bernie Ecclestone – Former F1 boss whose tax bill comes as a result of his fraud case – £652.6m

Denise, John and Peter Coates – Bet365 – £375.9m

Fred and Peter Done and family – Betfred – £204.6m

Sir Tim Martin – JD Wetherspoon boss – £167.1m

Sir James Dyson and family – Vacuum cleaner and engineering empire – £156m

The Weston family – Sold Selfridges but still behind Primark and Fortnum & Maston – £146.2m

Mike Ashley – Sports Direct tycoon – £139.4m

John Bloor – Triumph Motorcycles – £118.1m

John Timpson and family – High street retail – £99.8m

Dame Mary and Douglas Perkins – Specsavers – £97.7m

Tom Morris and family – Home Bargains – £91.7m

Sir Chris John – Hedge fund manager – £84.8m

Stephen Rubin and family – Speedo, Kickers and Berghaus – £81.2m

Lady Philomena Clark and family – Widow of Arnold Clark – £78.3m

Glenn Gordon and family – Whisky dynasty – £74.3m

Lord Bamford and family – JCB diggers – £67.8m

Peter Kelly – IT giant – £66.9m

Leonie Schroder and family – Finance – £62.5m

Earl Cadogan and family – Chelsea and Knightsbridge landowners – £60m

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