Nobody has done more for shopping in Glasgow. For two decades, Paul Green, tax exile and property multi-millionaire, has focused much of his energies on developing retail on the Clyde.

It was Jersey-based Mr Green who turned the scars of Glasgow's industrial decline, gap sites such as the Parkhead Forge and the old Goodyear tyre factory in Drumchapel, into busy malls, helping to transform the entire regional economy.

It was also Mr Green who last month opened one of Scotland's biggest shopping centres yet, the £350m Silverburn complex in Pollok.

Mr Green liked the scheme so much that he named one of his beloved racehorses, a six-year-old Irish gelding, after it. Silverburn, the horse, has won him three races in seven starts, netting prize money of nearly £45,000.

Silverburn, the mall, has proved popular with shoppers but this week won the Pock Mark prize, the annual award from Prospect Magazine for the worst planning decision in Scotland.

All this and Mr Green, 65, has no obvious link with Glasgow. Born in Northampton and brought up in Bletchley, Buckinghamshire, he has commanded his Clydeside empire from his base in the Channel Islands, through a whole range of companies and business vehicles.

So what is it about Glasgow that draws Mr Green, and his millions, back and back again? "I specialised in Glasgow because I happen to like the people," he said in a rare interview two years ago.

"They are good people who tend to look on the bright side of life. It has become a second home to me. It is a great city and the progress made over the past 20 years has been staggering."

It is far from clear exactly how much Mr Green is worth - estimates range into the high tens of millions. He lives with his wife, Jenny, in a mansion in Jersey and is understood to have four children.

He retired to the island in 1984 after selling a portfolio of property and floating a law stationery firm on the stock exchange. Soon, however, he was back in business, looking closely at Scotland.

He told The Herald: "I was only retired for a month then I got bored and my wife got fed up with me, so I started all over again."

Mr Green first came to look at the Forge, then a wasteland, back in 1984. Glasgow was recovering from its lowest ebb, the destruction of its industrial base, and was, with considerable foresight, embarking on a new strategy to become a shopping and tourism haven.

The Forge, despite having no infrastructure and lying far from the richer suburbs, was a success. Mr Green was said to be so enthusiastic about the east end that, wrongly, he was reported to want to buy Celtic FC.

True, Mr Green, in the late 1980s, said he would like to build on the club's Parkhead ground.

Like any other developer, Mr Green began to build relationships with city politicians. This was Glasgow: the politicians were Labour. He has loudly praised Labour MPs, MSPs and councillors, including council leader Steven Purcell and his predecessor, Charlie Gordon, for their vision. He has been generous with his money, as well as his time. Back in 2004, Mr Green's firm Retail Property Holdings gave £1m to Glasgow City Council towards a civic realm centre in Pollok, to complement Silverburn. The cash was used for health and leisure services, childcare facilities and employment and financial advice programmes.

The millionaire has also backed bursaries at Glasgow Caledonian University and other worthy causes in the city. At least one of his firms has been in the wars, though. Atlas Investments squabbled for years for control over a lucrative site on Buchanan Street, Scotland's main shopping drag, with a firm called SCPS, a wing of pub giants Mitchells and Butler.

In 2003, Atlas was appointed sole developer for the site by the council. That did not go down well with SCPS, which accused the local authority of acting unreasonably, undervaluing the site and failing in its duty to secure best value for the site. The Court of Session agreed. A year ago, however, Scotland's highest court was overruled by the Law Lords. Glasgow City Council, they found, had done nothing wrong.

Mr Green has owned, or been associated with, numerous developers, including Atlas; Silverburn developer Retail Property Holdings; Ramjet; London and Clydeside Properties; and Meridian Developments.