Robert Maxwell

(Jan Ludvik Hoch)
publisher, media mogul
Born: 6/10/1923
Birthplace: Slatinske Dòly, Czech Republic

He fled the Nazi invasion of Czecholovakia in 1939 and settled in Britain, though most of his family was killed in the Holocaust. Maxwell fought in World War II in the British army, then began a career in publishing. He soon owned a controling share in Pergamon Press, which he built into a successful publishing house specializing in trade journals and technical and scientific books. Based partly on this success, Maxwell won a seat in Parliament, serving as a Labour MP (1964–70). He diversified his publishing interests through leveraged purchases of the Mirror Newspaper Group, Macmillan (a U.S. publisher), and The New York Daily News. Financial scandals plagued Maxwell throughout his career and even after his death. In 1969 he was forced to surrender control of Pergamon in a financial scandal that also cost him his political career, and in 1991 he was forced to seek public funds through a stock offering to keep the Mirror Group afloat. Maxwell drowned under mysterious circumstances while boating off the Canary Islands later that year. Upon his death, investigators found that Maxwell had been secretly diverting millions of dollars from two of his companies and from employee pension funds in an effort to keep the corporation solvent. The effort failed; in 1992, Maxwell's companies were forced to file for bankruptcy protection in Great Britain and the United States.

Died: 11/5/1991

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