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According to Radio Times, Robert Maxwell was a Holocaust survivor who went on to be a media tycoon and a Member of Parliament. Britannica reports that he owned the Mirror Group, which published several newspapers, including the Daily Mirror. In 1991, he purchased the New York Daily News. Maxwell, who was a powerful figure in England, was known for his extravagant lifestyle. He owned private jets, sports teams, and a yacht that was named the Lady Ghislaine (via The Guardian). However, as MoneyWeek explains, Maxwell was also in severe debt. Per the Financial Times, this was due to purchasing Macmillan, a publishing company, and Official Airline Guides.
These companies ended up being financial failures, which resulted in Maxwell taking over $500 million from the Mirror Group’s pension fund to make up for the losses (per The Times of Israel). He did this to prevent his media empire from crashing and burning. In November 1991, Robert Maxwell was on the Lady Ghislaine in the Canary Islands when he fell to his death. CNN states that he had a heart attack and drowned. Despite this, many believe that Maxwell knew he was eventually going to be caught for his fraudulent scheme and opted to kill himself instead.
Shortly after, the BBC states that news came to light that Maxwell had drained $583 million from his 32,000 employees. In 1992, Ghislaine Maxwell told Vanity Fair that she refused to believe this story and that her father “wasn’t a crook.” As she put it, “A thief to me is somebody who steals money. Do I think that my father did that? No.”