US-born, London-based private equity baron Ellis Short (57) - who holds an Irish passport - helped John Grayken transform Lone Star into a €67bn investment giant before setting up on his own. He created Kildare Partners to go on a purchasing spree as Europe's economy began to recover. Kildare raised €2bn from investors and spent it rapidly buying distressed assets including €100m worth of loans associated with developer Michael O'Flynn's business.
Last year, he raised another $2bn, with distressed property debt in Italy and Portugal especially in its sights, but also the UK, Germany and Holland.
He bought Sunderland football club from a group of Irish investors in 2008, but, of late, its fortunes on the pitch have faltered. Several managers came and went in the past year, added to which was relegation and the collapse of talks with various German, Chinese, US and Middle Eastern buyers. Now languishing in the relegation zone yet again in the EFL Championship table, it is thought to be carrying £110m of debt, and buyers were unwilling to stump up about half of that amount for the club, according to reports.
Short also owns Skibo Castle, the former home of billionaire industrialist Andrew Carnegie, which he now runs as an exclusive private members' club. He also owns a €40m beach-side pad in Hawaii, and put a Chelsea home he owned on the market for £50m last year. Short is married to former tennis player Eve Zimmerman. We leave his wealth unchanged as he has not yet crystallised any losses in Sunderland FC, which could be more than £70m.