Russian-born mathematician revealed as biggest taxpayer in the UK last year

Credit: PA

A mathematician who was born in Russia and has spoken out against Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine was the UK’s biggest taxpayer last year. The Sunday Times tax list revealed on Friday that 100 wealthy people or families contributed nearly £5.2 billion in tax in the UK last year. Nearly £1 in every £10 of this came from just one man – Moscow-born Alex Gerko, who set up XTX Markets in 2015 and is co-chief executive of the trading business.

Last year he paid £487.4 million in tax, making him the biggest single taxpayer in the country.

Robert Watts, who compiles the list, said: “Alex Gerko’s story is an extraordinary read. This was a man who could have been one of Russia’s greatest wealth creators — instead he is creating jobs and paying his tax here. “Enticing the super-rich to London doesn’t always pay dividends for the public finances. In his case it certainly has.”

The top 20 taxpayers in the UK last year Alex Gerko – Financial trading – £487.4 million Denise, John and Peter Coates – Gambling – £460.2 million Stephen Rubin and family – Sportswear – £392.3 million Sir Chris Hohn – Hedge fund – £263 million Fred and Peter Done and family – Gambling – £136.8 million Mike Ashley – Sports equipment and fashion – £133.5 million Tim Martin – Pubs – £123.2 million Ranjit and Baljinder Boparan and family – Food – £120.7 million Tom Morris and family – Retail – £112.2 million Ian and Richard Livingstone – Property – £104 million Dame Mary and Douglas Perkins and family – Opticians – £100.9 million Sir James Dyson and family – Technology – £93 million Lady Philomena Clark and family – Car sales – £92.7 million Leonie Schroder and family – Finance – £88.7 million John Bloor – Housebuilding and motorcycles – £86.4 million Glenn Gordon and family – Distilling – £81.6 million Will Adderley and family – Home furnishings – £69.8 million The Marshall family – Defence equipment and car sales – £60.3 million Kathy and John Murphy and family – Construction and property – £59.8 million

Peter Kelly – Software – £59.6 million

Last year XTX said it “fully support(s) the Ukrainian people” and, speaking about Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, Mr Gerko reportedly said: “Nuremberg is waiting for you.” But Mr Gerko, who became a British citizen after a decade in the country in 2016, still faced problems due to his Russian citizenship last year. He renounced his Russian citizenship at the end of 2022. In August last year, XTX said it was suing accountancy firm Mazars for refusing to work with it because of Mr Gerko’s background. In taking the top spot on the tax list, Mr Gerko leapfrogs the family behind Bet365. Denise, John and Peter Coates, who also own Stoke City Football Club, paid £460.2 million in tax last year.

Frasers Group is owned by former Newcastle owner Mike Ashley. Credit: PA

They are followed in the list by Mike Ashley, the majority shareholder of Frasers Group, and Tim Martin, the boss of Wetherspoons. Mr Watts added: “Gerko’s leap up the league table has pushed Bet365 founder Denise Coates and her family into second place, ending the online gambling giant’s three-year reign at the top of the tax list.” Gymshark chief executive Ben Francis is the youngest person to appear on the list, paying £11.6 million to the taxman. He said: “This country and its taxes afforded me a free education, free healthcare and, as the child of a nurse, it also paid my mum’s salary. I’m nothing but proud that we contribute in every way that we can.”

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