Britain's biggest taxpayers revealed as Moscow-born billionaire top

Britain’s biggest taxpayers revealed: Moscow-born billionaire who renounced Russian citizenship tops list of highest contributors with £487m paid in just 12 months – while Bet365 tycoon, Wetherspoon boss and Mike Ashley rank in top 10

  • Alex Gerko paid £487.4 million in tax, making him the biggest single taxpayer
  • He knocked previous topper Denise Coates – the boss of Bet365 – into second 

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 – knocking Bet365 gambling Denise Coates off the top spot.

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.

100 wealthy people or families contributed nearly £5.2 billion in tax in the UK last year, with Alex Gerko hitting the top spot

Alex Gerko paid £487.4 million in tax, making him the biggest single taxpayer in the country

He is married to wife Eleanor, who is a Bank of England economist.

In an interview last year he suggested mathematics being taught in schools were letting students squander their talents.

He told the Times: “I had a teacher with a maths degree — something that probably wouldn’t be the case in a similar inner-city school in London.

“Mathematics is very important for my company and I think it should be much more important for this country as well.” 

“All the way from starting from school, there is a huge gap between where maths education needs to be and where it is, even in the best schools.”

Bet365 Chief Executive Denise Coates paid the most tax in the UK last year but not this year

Mike Ashley paid £133.5 million in tax from money maid in his multiple Sports equipment and fashion endeavours

Very taxing: 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

While the work done there is serious, XTX’s London offices are said to be spectacular.

The firm’s HQ boasts a replica Apollo 11 landing capsule, arcade machines and a hallway aglow with more than 30,000 LEDs generating cell life-cycle simulations. 

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.”

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.

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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