MOSCOW  - Alisher Usmanov, Russia’s metals and telecom magnate and Arsenal football club shareholder, was named the country’s richest man by Forbes magazine in its new 2012 ranking published Thursday. Founder of Metalloinvest holding Usmanov has grown his fortune up to $18.1billion from last year’s $17.7b, and replaced NLMK steelmaker owner Vladimir Lisin in the rank of Russia’s richest man. Lisin was second with $15.9 billion, and Alexei Mordashov of Severstal became the third richest in the ranking with $15.3 billion.

Last-year’s third richest man Mikhail Prokhorov, who ran in the presidential elections in March against Vladimir Putin, was put lower on the list this year in seventh place, with $13.2b ($18 billion in 2011).

Usmanov, who owns the second biggest stake in the English premiership giants Arsenal, is also known for investing into telecoms and social networks including Facebook, Twitter, Zynga, and Groupon.

The list of Russia’s richest, compiled by the Russian edition of Forbes, counted 96 billionaires this year, five fewer than last year. Their collective fortune was $446.3 billion, down from $498.6 in 2011.