40 Facts About Robert Maxwell


Early in his life, Maxwell escaped from Nazi occupation in his native country, joined the Czechoslovak Army in exile during World War II and was decorated after active service in the British Army.


Robert Maxwell led a flamboyant lifestyle, living in Headington Hill Hall in Oxford, from which he often flew in his helicopter, or sailing in his luxury yacht, the Lady Ghislaine.


In 1989, Robert Maxwell had to sell successful businesses, including Pergamon Press, to cover some of his debts.


Robert Maxwell's death triggered the collapse of his publishing empire as banks called in loans.


Robert Maxwell was born into a poor Yiddish-speaking Orthodox Jewish family in the small town of Slatinske Doly, in the region of Carpathian Ruthenia, Czechoslovakia.


Robert Maxwell was then involved in action across Europe, from the Normandy beaches to Berlin, and achieved the rank of sergeant.


Robert Maxwell gained a commission in 1945 and was promoted to the rank of captain.


In 1945, Robert Maxwell married Elisabeth "Betty" Meynard, a French Protestant, and the couple had nine children over the next 16 years: Michael, Philip, Ann, Christine, Isabel, Karine, Ian, Kevin and Ghislaine.


In 1964, representing the Labour Party, Robert Maxwell was elected as Member of Parliament for Buckingham and re-elected in 1966.


Robert Maxwell gave an interview to The Times in 1968, in which he said the House of Commons provided him with a problem.


Robert Maxwell contested Buckingham again in both 1974 general elections, but without success.


Steinberg claimed that during negotiations, Robert Maxwell falsely stated that a subsidiary responsible for publishing encyclopedias was extremely profitable.


Robert Maxwell subsequently lost control of Pergamon and was expelled from the board in October 1969, along with three other directors in sympathy with him, by the majority owners of the company's shares.


Robert Maxwell performed poorly under Steinberg; Maxwell reacquired Pergamon in 1974 after borrowing funds.


Robert Maxwell acquired the British Printing Corporation in 1981 and changed its name first to the British Printing and Communication Corporation and then to the Maxwell Communication Corporation.


Robert Maxwell was later sold in a management buyout and is known as Polestar.


In July 1984, Robert Maxwell acquired Mirror Group Newspapers, the publisher of six British newspapers, including the Daily Mirror, from Reed International plc.


At a press conference to publicize his acquisition, Robert Maxwell said his editors would be "free to produce the news without interference".


Meanwhile, at a meeting of Robert Maxwell's new employees, Mirror journalist Joe Haines asserted that he was able to prove that their boss was "a crook and a liar".


In June 1985, Robert Maxwell announced a takeover of Clive Sinclair's ailing home computer company, Sinclair Research, through Hollis Brothers, a Pergamon subsidiary.


In 1987, Robert Maxwell purchased part of IPC Media to create Fleetway Publications.


Originally intending it to be a rival of the Evening Standard, Robert Maxwell eventually decided to make it the first 24-hour paper as well.


In May 1987, Robert Maxwell's British Printing and Communication Corporation made an unsolicited bid to acquire US publishing conglomerate Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.


Robert Maxwell owned a half-share of MTV in Europe and other European television interests, Maxwell Cable TV and Maxwell Entertainment.


Robert Maxwell purchased Macmillan Publishers, the American firm, for $2.6 billion in 1988.


Robert Maxwell was the chairman of Oxford United, saving them from bankruptcy and attempting to merge them with Reading in 1983 to form a club he wished to call "Thames Valley Royals".


Robert Maxwell took Oxford into the top flight of English football in 1985, and the team won the League Cup a year later.


Robert Maxwell attempted to buy Manchester United in 1984, but refused owner Martin Edwards's asking price.


Robert Maxwell was known to be litigious against those who would speak or write against him.


The Foreign Office suspected that Robert Maxwell was a secret agent of a foreign government, possibly a double agent or a triple agent, and "a thoroughly bad character and almost certainly financed by Russia".


Robert Maxwell had known links to the British Secret Intelligence Service, to the Soviet KGB, and to the Israeli intelligence service Mossad.


Ben-Menashe claimed that, in 1986, Robert Maxwell informed the Israeli Embassy in London that Mordechai Vanunu revealed information about Israel's nuclear capability to The Sunday Times, then to the Daily Mirror.


Robert Maxwell called the claims "ludicrous, a total invention" and fired Davies.


Robert Maxwell missed the meeting, instead travelling to his yacht, the Lady Ghislaine, in the Canary Islands, Spain.


Robert Maxwell was presumed to have fallen overboard from the vessel, which was cruising off the Canary Islands, southwest of Spain.


Robert Maxwell was afforded a lavish funeral in Israel, attended by Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, Israeli President Chaim Herzog, at least six serving and former heads of Israeli intelligence and many dignitaries and politicians, both government and opposition, and was buried on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.


British Prime Minister John Major said Robert Maxwell had given him "valuable insights" into the situation in the Soviet Union during the attempted coup of 1991.


Later in his life, Robert Maxwell had become increasingly paranoid about his own employees and had the offices of those he suspected of disloyalty bugged so he could hear their conversations.


Robert Maxwell's death triggered instability for his publishing empire, with banks frantically calling in their massive loans.


Robert Maxwell was convicted on 29 December 2021, and sentenced to 20 years in prison on 28 June 2022.