The owner of the UK's Express Newspapers awarded himself a £46.2 million ($82m, €65m) paycheck last year.

Nothing unusual about a privately-owned business rewarding its owner whatever he thinks fit - except the pay-out plunged his parent company, Northern & Shell, into the red to the tune of £3.2m.

Richard Desmond, who also publishes celeb gossip sheet OK, earned a relatively modest £629,000 in 2002.

The media entrepreneur says he is planning to launch a new evening newspaper in London and has joined forces with a mail order group to launch a TV shopping channel selling lifestyle products and fashion.

Should something catch Desmond's eye he won't have to worry about paying for it.

Data sourced from Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff