Who is Ghislaine Maxwell’s father Robert? He had a media empire
Peacock’s new docuseries Shadow of Epstein: Ghislaine Maxwell puts Jeffrey Epstein’s longtime girlfriend center stage. The series aims to demystify Maxwell, who has earned a reputation as a philanthropic British socialite while allegedly aiding Epstein in targeting and abusing young women as part of a sex trafficking program. (Maxwell has denied the allegations but is awaiting trial on charges of child seduction, child sex trafficking and perjury).
From his childhood in the first episode, the series explores how Maxwell’s famous father, newspaper mogul Robert Maxwell, shaped her into the person she has become. As writer Anna Pasternak – one of Ghislaine Maxwell’s old Oxford friends – explains in the series, Robert Maxwell was “frankly, a terrifying father.” Pasternak said that as a youngest child, Ghislaine was his favorite, but that she also had to learn to “lead a man of a terrible character”.
“I think everything about her relationship with her father brought her to her relationship with Epstein,” Pasternak said. Here’s what else to know about Robert Maxwell.
Robert Maxwell’s youth
As Peter Jay, the former chief of staff at Maxwell’s diary, explains in Shadow of Epstein, Robert Maxwell was born Ludvik Hoch in 1923. An Orthodox Jew, he grew up in one of the poorest regions of Czechoslovakia. Through Forbes, most of his family members were killed in the Holocaust when Nazi Germany seized power, but Maxwell managed to escape. At 16, he arrived in France and then fought for the British Army in World War II, lying about his age. He was eventually promoted to the rank of captain and received a military cross for “storming a nest of German machine guns”.
According to Maxwell’s biographer, Tom Bower, Maxwell’s cold reputation came from his experiences in the war. “Anyone who had fought on the front lines from the beaches of Normandy to Germany, facing constant danger and death for months from enemy snipers and shells, was probably not afraid.” , wrote Bower.
Robert Maxwell’s Companies
After the war, Maxwell became determined never to live the life of poverty he had growing up again. He became a naturalized British citizen, and by a 1948 London Gazette notice, officially changed his name from Ludvick Hoch to Ian Robert Maxwell. Fluent in Russian, English and French, he briefly worked for the British Foreign Office, but quickly took an interest in business. Through Forbes, he paid £ 13,000 (about $ 360,000 in today’s dollars) to buy out a small publishing house in 1951. He renamed it Pergamon Press, and they did technical journals written by scientists and academics – a sector that had no competition at the time. His dominance in this market resulted in rapid business growth and the company went public in 1964.
At 40, Maxwell was a multimillionaire and even had a seat in Parliament. But he always looked for more money and more power. He invested a lot in other publishing houses (such as the six Mirror Group newspapers and the New York Daily News), pharmaceutical and IT companies, for The Guardian. Eventually, he participated in the shady practice of depreciation of property, changing the loans he had borrowed for one of his main businesses in order to make the others more profitable. Through The New York Post, when an American company about to acquire Pergamon took a closer look at its finances in 1969, it realized Maxwell was double playing and sent it back. But Maxwell simply bought out Pergamon in 1974; in the 1980s, Maxwell had invested in a global media empire, and Forbes believes he was generating $ 3 billion in annual sales.
Robert Maxwell’s family
In 1945 Maxwell married French Protestant Betty Meynard and they had nine children together (Ghislaine was the youngest, born when Maxwell was 38). Through The New York Post, their large family lived a 53-room mansion in Oxford, England.
As Fall: The Last Days of Robert Maxwell wrote author John Preston, the family was happy until a car crash in 1961 left Ghislaine’s older brother in a coma. Following the accident, Maxwell became a very strict father to his remaining children, and “they lived in increasing fear of incurring his disapproval.”
But unlike his siblings, Maxwell tended to adore Ghislaine the most. He even bought a $ 20 million 190 foot superyacht in 1987 and named it Lady Ghislaine. As an adult, Ghislaine acted as Maxwell’s ‘unofficial goodwill ambassador’, throwing corporate parties to bolster her image even as he had questionable business relationships behind the scenes, The New York Post.
Robert Maxwell’s death
November 6, 1991 Robert Maxwell was found dead in the ocean. He had been missing for six hours from his yacht Lady Ghislaine, which was sailing near the Canary Islands. It was decided that he fell accidentally when he died, but over the next 20 years people speculated that he committed suicide. According to Robert son Kevin MaxwellRobert had defaulted on £ 50million in Goldman Sachs loans, and he was due to meet with the Governor of the Bank of England to explain himself just before his death.
“He was a man who couldn’t face the ignominy of prison, to be shown a liar and a thief. And he knew very well that it was going to happen ”, Roy Greenslade, a former editor from one of Maxwell’s journals, The Daily Mirror, Told The Guardian. “I believe Maxwell threw himself [the yacht]. “
Faced with the controversy, Ghislaine has become the “greatest defender” of Robert, the Robert Maxwell’s Last Days author Preston. Yet Ghislaine left Britain to avoid contempt and settled in New York. Months after her father’s death, Ghislaine began dating Jeffrey Epstein; as his friends in the docuseries assume, meeting Epstein at such a vulnerable point in his life is probably what owed him all these years.