Whittaker heads Manx rich list

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ECONOMIC downturn, what economic downturn?

The island’s wealthiest man, property tycoon John Whittaker, saw his fortune soar by £1 billion last year, according to the Sunday Time’s Rich List 2011, published at the weekend.

Mr Whittaker came 50th in the overall ranking last year, with assets worth £1,060 million. But thanks to his sale of the Trafford Shopping Centre in January, the 68-year-old’s ranking has shot up to 28th, with assets now standing at £2,075 million.

Runner up in the Isle of Man’s wealth league is once again property and finance magnate Jim Mellon, who comes in at 132nd position overall, with a fortune on £580 million, up £50 million on last year when he came 121st in the list.

Not far behind is Andreas resident Trevor Hemmings, owner of this year’s Grand National winner Ballabriggs. Mr Hemmings, who sold Blackpool Tower to the local council last year, also saw his fortune increase by £50 million, taking it to £550 million but causing his placing to slip from 132nd last year to 138th in 2011.

But there have been losers as well as winners.

Leonard Polonsky, who made a fortune from the sale of the Isle of Man-based Hansard Global, has seen his ranking fallen from 484th last year to 627th this year, with assets now worth £116 million compared to £137 last year.

And Graham Ferguson Lacey, who last year ranked 714th with a fortune of £90 million, doesn’t feature at all in the 2011 list.

Inventor Dr John Taylor, from Port Soderick, who pioneered modern day kettle elements with the firm Strix, ranks 968th in the list this year with assets worth £70 million, unchanged from last year but enough to see his placing fall from 923rd.

Manx-born Bee Gees Barry and Robin Gibb are at 650th in the list, down from 596th place in 2010, with their fortune remaining static at £110 million.

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