Monday, June 27, 2005

America, United States, Times Online, The Times, Sunday Times

America, United States, Times Online, The Times, Sunday Times: "Lonely fanatasist who was undone by his $225m addiction to giving
By Chris Ayres in Los Angeles and Jack Malvern, Arts Reporter

Alberto Vilar, a financier in disgrace, at Manhattan Federal Court this week (LOUIS LANZANO/AP)

ALBERTO VILAR wanted only one thing: to stand alongside John Davidson Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie and Bill Gates as one of America’s greatest philanthropists.

Before he was arrested and handcuffed at Newark airport and thrown into the New York Metropolitan Correction Centre, he seemed to have come achingly close. His fortune was valued at $950 million (£523 million) by Forbes magazine, and his name was engraved into the marble of several world-renowned institutions, including the Royal Opera House in London.

But today, as the fallen financier awaits his trial on four counts of fraud and four counts of money laundering, he is left with only two bank accounts: the first with a balance of less than $100; the other empty. His $10 million bail has been secured against works of art, a friend’s home in the Hamptons, and a $500,000 gift from the conductor Valery Gergiev. Yet remarkably, Mr Vilar’s tale is not a traditional one of corporate greed or stock market trickery. He is not accused of robbing anyone’s pension fund for a Fifth Avenue address and a fleet of canary "

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