Lifestyles of the Really, Really Rich (but They Don't Want to Be Famous)

The fiery Ferrari crash last weekend that critically injured Russian billionaire Suleiman Kerimov has turned a spotlight onto the playgrounds of the ultrarich.

Though the crash occurred on the Riviera, just a quick hop away -- by private jet -- is London, where a disproportionately high number of billionaires have settled, according to this year's Forbes magazine survey of the world's richest people.

London's shops, exclusive nightclubs, and top-notch private schools cater to them -- famed department store Harrods has an entire department of personal shoppers to fulfill their every whim.

And members-only nightclubs like Annabel's make sure to keep the riffraff -- like lowly millionaires -- behind the velvet ropes.

Of the 23 billionaires based in London, only 12 are British. The rest come from places as far-flung as India, Iceland and South Africa.

At the top of the London list, and ranking as the world's fifth-richest person overall with a fortune of $23.5 billion, is Indian steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal.

Close behind is the Russian owner of the Chelsea Football Club, Roman Abramovich, who ranks the world's 11th-richest person with $18.82 billion.

Yet another Russian, oil tycoon Leonard Blavatnik is said to be worth $5 billion; Dutch heiress Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken inherited her $5 billion fortune from the brewing empire of her late father, Freddy Heineken.

They're not exactly household names.

While many American millionaires like a little attention (Donald Trump, anyone?), these billionaires are a fairly anonymous and low-keyed lot -- except to each other.

Why is London an attractive place to settle?

"Billionaires are, by nature, [a] peripatetic lot," said Paul Maidment of Forbes. "They can afford to own property on many continents, and do. Their business interests and their investments are global. … In a sense, they are citizens of no country but the self-contained universe of the superwealthy."

And London has many unique attributes: "Number one, it's a tax haven, but it's the cocoon and isolation from the rest of the world they want," Maidment said.

Low taxation is a major enticement.

Russian oligarchs and Arab petrobillionaires are lured to London by British Chancellor of Exchequer Gordon Brown's willingness to allow 60,000 foreigners to escape paying tax on income and investments held abroad.

London's innovative and open financial markets are another draw for the superrich.

The billionaires already invest in real estate and gold bars, and stow away dollar bills in Swiss bank accounts.

London offers them a convenient plethora of banks with marble floors and investment firms with elegant pillars, which are scattered across the poshest residential districts: Mayfair, St. James and Belgravia.

According to Richard Skinner, a strategist for Price Waterhouse Coopers: "The time difference is optimal for trading with the Middle East, and London is a bridge between North America and Asia. Being able to conduct business in the English language is another draw, not to mention being able to find your own set of people in London, whether it be Arabs, Asians or Russians."

Furthermore, the political stability that the United Kingdom enjoys is an invaluable benefit. The politicians and bureaucrats aren't corrupt, and there is a sound legal system.

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