ROBERT MAXWELL was a father to nine children – including child trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell – and a media proprietor who ransacked his company' pension pot of an estimated £800 million.

Get to know more about Robert Maxwell's life and when he died.

Who was Robert Maxwell?

Robert Maxwell was born Jan Ludvik Hyman Binyamin Hoch on June 10, 1923, in Slatinske Doly in Czechoslovakia – now Solotvyno in Ukraine.

He grew up in a difficult time, having to escape to France amid the invading Nazi Germany forces during World War Two, with many of his family being killed at famous death camp Auschwitz.

Maxwell ended up joining the Czechoslovak army, before moving to the Royal Staffordshire Regiment and seeing action from Normandy to Berlin.

Maxwell married Frenchwoman Elisabeth "Betty" Meynard in 1945.


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The couple had nine children: Michael, Philip, Anne, Christine, Isabel, Karine, Ian, Kevin and Ghislaine.

However, Robert and Betty suffered two tragedies with their children, as Karine died aged three of leukemia.

Michael was severely injured in a car crash aged 15, after his driver fell asleep at the wheel, and died seven years later having never regained consciousness.

After the war, Maxwell became a publishing distributor before buying Butterworth-Springer in 1951 – later being renamed Pergamon Press.

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In 1964, he was elected as a Labour MP for Buckingham, staying in the seat for six years.

At the end of the 1960s, Maxwell tried to buy News Of The World, only for his bid to be rejected based on his Czechoslovak heritage – while he also attempted to purchase The Sun.

But he did eventually add a tabloid paper to his business ventures, purchasing Mirror Group Newspapers in 1984.

The war veteran also tried his hand in football, firstly as chairman of Oxford United, before buying into Derby County – but failed in his bid to purchase Manchester United after refusing their asking price.

Maxwell's youngest daughter Ghislaine, who is the most well-known of his offspring, dated convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and on July 2, 2020, was found guilty on charges including transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.

How did Robert Maxwell die?

The publishing tycoon died in unusual circumstances on November 5, 1991.

Maxwell had been on his yacht, Lady Ghislaine, and had his last contact with the crew at 4.25am before going missing later that morning.

It was speculated that he had been urinating naked off the side of the boat, with his body later recovered nude.

Maxwell, who came from a Jewish family, was buried in Jerusalem in a lavish ceremony with the Israeli Prime Minister among those attending.

However, his death saw his businesses crumble into instability amid failure to repay bank loans and led to the famous Mirror pension fraud probe.

The Lady Ghislaine was later sold to Saudi arms dealer and billionaire Adnan Khashoggi.

Who was Ghislaine Maxwell's mother?

Born on March 11, 1921, Elisabeth Maxwell was a Holocaust scholar from France, who founded the journal Holocaust and Genocide Studies.

She was married to publishing billionaire Robert Maxwell from 1945 until his death in 1991, when the family's financial practices, particularly his role in the Mirror Group pension controversy, came under examination.

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Later in life, she was honored for her efforts as an advocate for interfaith dialogue.

Maxwell spent the majority of her later years in France with her sister Yvonne and she died on August 7, 2013, in Dordogne at the age of 92.

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