`Romney $250 mn fortune funded by English tycoons`

In the 1980s, Jack Lyons and Robert Maxwell had reportedly invested large sums in Mitt Romney`s first private equity fund.

Updated: Jul 21, 2012, 18:04 PM IST

London: Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney had built his USD 250 million fortune with the help of two of Britain`s most disreputable business figures, Guinness fraudster Jack Lyons and crooked newspaper boss Robert Maxwell, according to a report.

In the 1980s, Lyons and Maxewell had reportedly invested large sums in the Republican candidate`s first private equity fund, started during his years at Bain & Company, which launched his now highly controversial career in finance.

According to the Daily Mail, flamboyant publishing tycoon Maxwell was the former head of the left-wing Mirror Group newspapers and a one-time owner of the New York Daily News.

He died in mysterious circumstances in 1991 at the age of 68 after falling overboard from his luxury yacht off the Canary Islands after which it was discovered he had plundered hundreds of millions from an employee pension scheme, the report said.

Lyons, who died in 2008, was one of the notorious ``Guinness Four`` convicted for a massive share trading fraud, in which they attempted to inflate the price of Guinness shares to assist a take-over bid for Scottish drinks company Distillers, was subsequently fined GBP 4 million for theft and false accounting.

In 1984, Lyons, a former colleague of Romney`s at Bain & Company, along with members of his family invested almost USD 3 million in Romney`s capital fund, following which he recruited Maxwell, who invested USD 2 million in the fund.

Romney was a senior management consultant at Bain during one of the most controversial periods in the firm`s history when they became caught up in the Guinness scandal as advisers to the drinks firm.

The latest revelations have put Romney’s reputation in jeopardy once again, whose financial career and Bain Capital association has increasingly being brought into question.