Alan Bond (businessman)

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Alan Bond (born 22 April 1938) is an Australian business man. At one time very wealthy, he has also been controversial. Bond was born in the Hammersmith district of London, England, and emigrated to Australia with his parents and sister Geraldine in 1950. He became a public hero in his adopted country after bankrolling challenges for the yachting trophy the America's Cup, finally winning the trophy which had been held by the USA since 1851 in 1983. Bond was awarded the accolade of Australian of the Year in 1978.

The Perth-based Bond made his fortune initially in property development and at one time was one of Australia's most prominent businesspeople. He later extended his business interests into other fields including brewing (he controlled Castlemaine Tooheys), gold mining and television. Australia's first private university, Bond University, bears his name.

He purchased QTQ-9, Brisbane and paid out an outstanding dispute the station had with the Queensland premier, Joh Bjelke-Petersen for $400,000. He said in a television interview that he paid because "Sir Joh left no doubt that if we were going to continue to do business successfully in Queensland then he expected the matter to be resolved". In 1987 he paid $1 billion for the Australia-wide Nine television network.

Among his flamboyant purchases was Vincent Van Gogh's painting, Irises, for 54 million Australian dollars, but he didn't have enough money to pay for it and it had to be re-sold.

The stock market crash in 1987 was one of a number of factors that led to the downfall of Bond's business empire, and he eventually went to prison for a time after being convicted of hiding some of his assets from Bond Corporation's receivers. These efforts, however, were somewhat successful; he appears to have retained several luxury properties and other assets sufficient to support a luxurious lifestyle.

Bond was originally jailed in August 1996 for a $15 million charge involving the Manet painting La Promenade. In 1997 he was sentenced to a further four years after pleading guilty to siphoning off $1.2 billion from one of his companies, Bell Resources, to prop up his ailing Bond Corporation. Journalist Paul Barry, who wrote the book referenced below, has pointed out that Bond's release after 1,298 days meant that he spent roughly one day behind bars for every million dollars he stole.

In 1995 Bond and his family bought him out of bankruptcy, using about $12 million they held in offshore trusts to reach an arrangement with creditors who were owed $1.8 billion, a payout of a little over half a cent in the dollar.

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