The sons of publishing tycoon and fraudster Robert Maxwell have revealed their father was due to meet senior figures at the Bank of England on the day he disappeared from a yacht in the Canaries.
Ian and Kevin Maxwell said they were “hacked off” when their father failed to help them prepare for the vital meeting in 1991, only to be told by the captain of the boat was missing.
His naked body was later found floating in the Atlantic Ocean, and an inquest later found he died from a heart attack combined with accidental drowning.
The brothers, who were tried and acquitted for their roles in the £460 million fraud on Mirror Group’s pension fund, have spent more than two decades avoiding publicity.
But now they have revealed what it was like being the son’s of one of the most powerful media barons of the era as they promote their new think tank aimed at tackling Islamic Extremism.
In an interview with the Sunday Times, Ian, 62, said the father-of-nine’s love could be overpowering if he was pleased with you, but he was terrifying if he was not.
“The embrace was suffocating and so loving and everything came your way, but then if you were far away in disgrace or you had blotted your copybook, no matter what you had done you were cast out,” he said.
Kevin, 59, revealed his last words with his father had been a massive shouting match when he failed to return from his cruise to help them get ready for a meeting with the deputy governor of the Bank of England.
“We needed to prepare for that meeting and I was a bit hacked off that he was going to leave it until the last minute,” he said.
Following his death and the full scale of their father’s fraud emerged the brothers said they had strangers shouting and spitting at them when they went out in public.
Since their acquittal, they have stayed out of the limelight and built up their a business in property, telecoms and energy mostly out of the UK.
But following last year’s spate of terror attacks, they have founded think tank Combating Jihadist Terrorism in the UK to try and tackle the problem of the radicalisation of British nationals.
Despite the conspiracy theories that abound over the circumstances of his death, the brothers do not think he was murdered or killed himself.
Ian said suicide was not in his father’s “make up or his mentality”.
He added: “I don’t think any murder conspiracy stands up. So, for me, it’s an unexplained accident and I’m content to live with that.”