Billionaire trash talk: Branson bashes Abramovich

Sir Richard Branson
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Sir Richard Branson

British billionaire Sir Richard Branson has waged a war of words against Roman Abramovich, calling the Russian billionaire's spending "sad" and "a waste of money."

In an interview in the latest issue of Collective Hub magazine, Branson said Abramovich, who owns the Chelsea Football Club soccer team, should be spending more on philanthropy and less on yachts and property.

"He's got six yachts which are just gigantic and you think, 'What a waste of money,"" Branson said. "He could transform so many people's lives if he put that money to good use."

"I think it's sad when people make a lot of money and they want the biggest boat or the biggest car or the biggest plane," Branson said.

Along with owning one of the largest yachts in the world — the 536-foot "Eclipse" — Abramovich also owns properties in Aspen, Colorado; St. Bart's; France; and London, England; as well as a Boeing 767. However, after downsizing his boat collection from a peak of four, Abramovich is now believed to own only two yachts.

Bloomberg pegs Abramovich's net worth at around $10 billion. Branson's wealth is estimated at around $5 billion, according to Bloomberg's data.

Of course, Branson isn't exactly a penny pincher. He owns a private island, a submarine and a sailing yacht. But he has also pledged billions to fight global warming, poverty in Africa and battling corruption around the world.

Abramovich is charitable as well. News reports last week said he's the largest donor to the "Fulfilling Dreams" charity, which paid for 55 children to travel from Israel to France to watch the Euro 2016 matches.

Through a spokesperson, Abramovich declined comment.