Some 18 hellenes in the UK are among the wealthiest people in the country. Some hail from Greece, most from Cyprus, but their combined fortune amounts to several billion pounds. Nevertheless, some of the wealthiest hellenes in the world are not so well-known outside the UK, even though their life stories might seem to read straight from a novel.
Andreas Panayiotou is the 45-year-old son of Cypriot refugees who ran a small dry cleaners in east London. At the age of 14, he left school without even learning how to read, due to severe dyslexia. However, he was able to surpass this difficulty and now owns one of the largest real estate companies in the UK. Panayiotou founded his company, Ability, in 2006. Since then, it has been involved in some 7,000 property transactions. His fortune is estimated to stand at more than 400 million pounds sterling, ranking him 273rd on the Sunday Times list of the wealthiest people in the UK.
Demis Hassabis, the son of a bohemian Cypriot singer who fled the Turkish invasion of his homeland, is a 37-year old entrepreneur who at the age of 13 was the second highest-rated chess player in the world. He studied computer science at Cambridge and got a PhD in neuroscience from University College London. He founded a company called DeepMind, which is involved in the field of artificial intelligence, has been bought by Google for 400 million pounds.
At the age of 55, Cypriot-born Theo Paphitis is the 367th wealthiest person in the UK, and another who overcame his dyslexia to achieve great wealth. After starting a successful real estate company in the 1980s, Paphitis decided to go into then-emerging mobile phone market. In 2011, he got into lingerie, and finally in 2012 he bought R. Dyas, a home equipment company. His retail sales group consists of 349 stores and 3,600 employees, serving 28 million customers each year. Once the chairman of Millwall Football Club, he is also a well-known TV personality after several series of Dragons’ Den, a BBC TV show where small businesses pitch their ideas to wealthy investors.
Finally, 51-year-old Theo Karpathios, who grew up and studied in Greece before leaving in the 1980s to find a better life in the UK, is also on the Sunday Times list of the 100 wealthiest men in the UK. In 1987, Karpathios founded two companies, Cult LLP and Laundry Athletics LLP with the help of his British friends, but now is also a director of various businesses including Supergroup PLC, DKH Retail Ltd, High Jinks Ltd and Praxis Global Clothing.