UK Markets open in 2 hrs 59 mins

Oleg Deripaska: Oligarch Says Listen To Bankers

(c) Sky News 2013

One of the world's richest men has told Sky News that the British economy is "lagging" the rest of the world and that "the UK Government should listen more to City bankers".

In an exclusive interview with Oleg Deripaska, the Russian oligarch told Sky Business Presenter Jeff Randall that in his view the City of London (LSE: CIN.L - news) is not as attractive a place to raise finance as either the United States or Asia, and that the UK needs to "stay competitive" to attract foreign business investment.

In particular, the billionaire blames the "conservative" nature of UK financial regulation as a disincentive.

In 2010 Mr Deripaska listed Rusal, the world's biggest aluminium producer, in Hong Kong, not London.

But he says that he does believe that Britain has proved "lucky and clever" in avoiding the eurozone crisis by taking the decision to stay out of the European single currency.

Mr Deripaska denied that he or indeed other Russian business leaders are in "Putin's pocket" and says the days of foreign companies paying off the Russian mafia to do business in Russia have gone.

Russia is no longer the "wild West" according to Mr Deripaska but he admits that in the 1990s "there was a failure of all institutions."

Mr Deripaska was once Russia's richest man, but his business interests suffered badly following the global financial crisis of 2008.

In the Randall interview he refutes the suggestion that the current Russian President Vladimir Putin used his influence to save Mr Deripaska's businesses after the provision of a $16bn (£10bn) loan from the Russian authorities.

He tells Sky News that this was an "open deal" which "he was forced to repay at the first possible moment" and at an interest rate of 8%.

The Russian billionaire is known in the UK for his friendship with Nathaniel Rothschild which led to the political row billed as 'Yachtgate'.

There were heated exchanges between George Osborne and Peter Mandelson following visits to Mr Deripaska's yacht, which was anchored off the Greek island of Corfu in 2008.

Mr Deripaska owns and is chief executive of Rusal, the world's largest aluminum producer. But his business interests run much wider and has significant stakes in carmaker Gaz, airports, construction and financial services.

Forbes magazine estimated his net worth last March as $8.8bn (£5.5bn) which would make him the 104th richest man in the world. But Mr Deripaska says he "doesn't have the free time" to follow Roman Abramovich's lead and buy an English Premier League side.