Robert Maxwell is the focus of a new documentary series entitled House of Maxwell, which starts next week on BBC Two
The full extent of media mogul Robert Maxwell’s paranoia in the months leading up to his death was revealed in secretly recorded phone conversations between his executives.
The disgraced Mirror owner, who had worked for the KGB and MI6, bugged his global media empire’s offices and his lavish Oxfordshire home.
In the audio footage, revealed in a TV documentary, his senior staff are frustrated they couldn’t reach Maxwell for three days while he was sailing off the Canary Islands.
A key executive says, “I’m screwed if I know what he did. He went away in his boat – and he said to me he would speak to them. And I’m still trying to track down that damn money.”
Another is heard saying: “It’s going to explode and burying your head in the sand isn’t going to help. For heaven’s sake.”
For months, senior employees of the Mirror Group had secretly suspected that there were holes in the company’s finances, including in the employees’ pension funds.
In November 1991, her boss’s body was found floating in the Atlantic.
Shortly after his death, it was discovered that he had stolen £440m from the pension fund to boost the company’s share price.
His global media empire was found to be around £2billion in debt.
The BBC2 series also includes previously unreleased footage of Maxwell hours before his death standing on the deck of the superyacht Lady Ghislaine, named after his favorite daughter.
The footage also shows the 22-stone Maxwell naked in the sea with the ship’s buoyancy ring around his torso.
After his death, senior staff struggle to understand his finances.
One tells another they have found they are “short” by £6.8million. “In addition to the damn 100 million? That’s just the tip of the iceberg,” comes the incredulous reply.
In conversations voiced by actors protecting identities, one executive says, “Where the hell has all that money gone?”
He is assured that a “big chunk” is on the way back. The man replies: “Otherwise there will be the most divine public scandal.” Another employee concludes, “We’re f***ed.”
Former Mirror Group secretary Carol Bragoli said that towards the end of his life Maxwell only trusted the sons Kevin and Ian who worked at his side. She added: “He became very suspicious. It reflects how paranoid he was getting.”
The Maxwell brothers were later arrested on suspicion of fraud, but both were acquitted in court.
Executive producer Colin Barr said that despite extensive research for the three films, it’s still unknown if Maxwell killed himself or accidentally fell in. He doesn’t think it was murder.
He told Radio Times: “We have footage of the yacht from this week where he looks relaxed but who knows? dressed.
“Maxwell could have been a heroic figure, emerging from poverty to thrive in a class-ridden country like Britain. Instead, his path was one of hubris, vanity, and moral corruption, which was then passed down to his family, including Ghislaine. It’s hard to imagine a more dramatic rise or catastrophic fall.”
The series also delves into Ghislaine’s friendship with billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. In December she was convicted of sex trafficking.
House of Maxwell begins Monday at 9pm on BBC Two.
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https://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/secret-tapes-reveal-robert-maxwells-26579064 Secret tapes reveal Robert Maxwell's paranoia in the months leading up to his death