GHISLAINE Maxwell was born on Christmas Day 1961 with a golden spoon in her mouth.
She grew up in an Oxford mansion with a private jet, a luxury yacht named Lady Ghislaine and unlimited money.
As the favourite child of her larger-than-life father, the billionaire media tycoon Robert Maxwell, she was given everything she demanded — and it turned her into a 24-carat spoilt brat.
Infamous for being rude to Maxwell’s employees at the Mirror newspapers, she was known to demand a cigarette and walk off with the whole packet.
After a London policeman stopped her for drunken driving, she congratulated the startled officer for having spotted her — and got away with it.
As an ambitious status-seeker, she used her father’s credit card to jet around the globe for lunch dates with Mick Jagger and other celebrities.
Long before Robert Maxwell’s body was pulled out of the Atlantic after his mysterious death in 1991, Ghislaine Maxwell was set to become notorious on both sides of the ocean.
With millions of her dead father’s money, she bought a luxury Manhattan home and embarked on a lifestyle of wealthy debauchery.
But 29 years later, her social climbing has ended after she was charged by US authorities with allegedly helping to recruit and groom underage girls for convicted paedo Jeffrey Epstein.
History will say that her destiny was inevitable. She is the daughter of a crook who could end up spending the later years of her life sharing a cell with crooks.
Both pampered and tyrannised by Maxwell, the only men she could love and live with were the rich, powerful and domineering — and that drew her to Epstein.
Ghislaine’s childhood was plush but tough. Her father was born as Jan Hoch, the ninth child of an impoverished Czech peasant.
He arrived in England in 1939 determined to fight the Nazis. Courageous and ambitious, he had changed his name by the time Ghislaine was born, and become an international publisher.
During the Swinging Sixties he was a Labour MP, a multimillionaire and the host of star-studded parties at Headington Hall, his Oxford mansion. But, behind the shutters, Ghislaine suffered her father’s merciless bullying, especially over Sunday lunch.
Maxwell would question his children about world affairs. In the event of a mistake, he erupted in a rage and physically beat the child in front of everyone, including any visitors.
If a comment in a school report was not perfect, Maxwell caned the child. He growled: “Remember the three Cs — Concentration, Consideration and Conciseness.”
Choosing a scapegoat was his pleasure and every Maxwell child’s terror. After his death, wife Betty wrote: “Bob would shout and threaten and rant at the children until they were reduced to pulp.”
Ghislaine could expect little protection from her mother in front of her friends. Betty, who met Robert during the liberation of France in 1944, collaborated with the beatings of her children, just as she connived in her husband’s financial crimes.
Robert Maxwell was accused of fraud in 1969, was defeated in the 1970 General Election, lost his publishing empire and was publicly condemned as a crook.
At school, Ghislaine was mercilessly taunted. Teachers said she was attention-seeking and badly behaved. Betty admitted that her youngest daughter had been woefully neglected.
She recalled feeling “devastated” when her daughter had exclaimed: “Mummy, I exist.”
She was moved to a Somerset boarding school, then mixed public school Marlborough, before getting into Balliol — Oxford’s best college. By the time she left, her father had resurrected his career.
With the help of greedy bankers, lawyers and accountants, he not only bought the Mirror newspapers but became Britain’s biggest printer, a successful investor and, most importantly, a global powerbroker.
Criss-crossing the world in his private jet, sometimes with Ghislaine, he moved between the White House, the Kremlin, Downing Street and the leaders of France, Germany and Israel.
Ghislaine became fascinated by power, wealth and celebrity. She was like her father and he encouraged her to adopt his worst characteristics — arrogance and rudeness, tempered by an ability to charm when required.
She used it on her boyfriends, who were sometimes vetted by her father but often kept away to prevent his interference.
She was intelligent, good-looking and charming, but the businesses she launched all failed. So with her father’s money she bought her way into society, especially in New York — a haven where she could escape his control.
In May 1991, just six months before his death, she and Maxwell flew by Concorde to New York. The two had become noticeably close.
As his escort at glittering dinners with rich and famous figures including statesman Henry Kissinger, she was fatefully introduced to friends of Jeffrey Epstein, already a rising financial star. Maxwell could not have foreseen that he was sowing the seeds of her downfall.
“My family won’t inherit anything when I die,” he told his Russian mistress Kira Vladina. “The only ones who deserve anything are my youngest, Ghislaine, and Kevin. I adore both of them. Kevin is so much like me and Ghislaine is a friend.”
He often sent his daughter to New York to represent him. At 29, she went to a dinner honouring the Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal and later rang her father, who was visiting President Gorbachev in Moscow, with a report of the event.
Her reward was a scathing tirade. In a written apology later, she told him: “I am very sorry that my description of the dinner this morning was inadequate and made you angry.
“I should have expressed at the start of our conversation that I was merely presenting you with a preliminary report of the evening and that a full written report was to follow.”
She then wrote long descriptions of every guest, praised her father and signed off: “I will call you again tomorrow to receive your precise instructions for the Kennedy wedding.”
She had been invited to the marriage of Matthew Maxwell Kennedy, son of assassinated senator Robert.
But life was not all parties. On her father’s orders during 1991, she regularly flew by Concorde to New York carrying an envelope to be handed to a trusted lawyer. Each one contained share certificates in Berlitz, the language school and publishers, worth £160million.
That money had been stolen by her father from shareholders — part of a £2billion fraud that only came to light with his other crimes after his death.
On November 5, 1991, Maxwell’s body was found floating near the Canary Islands. Four pathologists agreed that he had suffered a heart attack while urinating over the side of the yacht, then fallen overboard.
In the grisly aftermath of his death, it was a tearful Ghislaine who flew to Tenerife where the Lady Ghislaine was docked. Everything about the state of the ship, the crew’s truculent attitude and the police’s negligence appalled her.
Her beloved mentor had died and the world was denigrating him. She withheld an envelope stuffed with £15,000 in cash meant for the captain.
In a rare TV interview, she admitted how much she missed him — despite his tyranny and dishonesty. In her strange way, she even admired his criminality.
Soon after his death, she bought a house in Manhattan with some of the millions he had stolen. She spoke to her brothers about building a new life out of the spotlight.
In truth, she did the opposite. Jeffrey Epstein offered Ghislaine everything she wanted — money, celebrity, parties, friendship and domination. Just as she had obeyed her father, she obliged Epstein.
She was not just his girlfriend but his fixer, property manager, hostess at parties and, allegedly, his pimp.
Just how the troubled girl from Oxford became a sex fiend and alleged procurer of under-age girls will become apparent over the coming months, but there’s little doubt that after Epstein died, she had become reconciled to her fate.
Over the last two years she could have fled to France, where she was born. French nationals cannot be extradited to face trial in another country.
She chose instead to buy an £800,000 estate and take her chances before a New York jury. Robert Maxwell would have done the same. He always escaped justice.
Possibly, she was encouraged by her brothers Kevin and Ian, who in 1996 were acquitted of defrauding the Mirror pension fund of £40million after a year long-trial.
The Maxwells have always been lucky. Ghislaine hopes to carry on the family tradition.
- Maxwell, The Final Verdict by Tom Bower was published on July 1 by HarperCollins.
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