in 1938 in Hammersmith, London, UK, Alan Bond moved out to Perth, Australia, with
his family at age 11. He made an impression at an early age: by age 14, he
was a petty thief, and at 18 he was in trouble for burglary. Bond's father said
that his son Alan would end up either as the richest man in Australia or in
prison. In his life, Alan would do both. His impression on others would be as a
charming, flamboyant, energetic, persuasive businessman and as a fraudster who had
an ability to believe his own lies, a characteristic that, in turn, made him
more believable to others.
His first job was as a sign painter. Soon he was trading property and selling land. His
investments moved into mining, brewing, and broadcasting. In 1983 he bankrolled
the yacht Australia II
in its effort to win the America's Cup. The syndicate
was the first to successfully challenge the America's Cup against the defending
New York Yacht Club in 132 years, and Bond became a national hero in the
In the late 1980s, Bond was one of a number of Western Australian businessmen
involved in a scandal of corruption, affecting government and business figures,
that would become known as WA Inc. He spent time in prison for stealing $1
billion from Bell Resources, and he declared the largest bankruptcy in
Australian corporate history. It would later come to light that he had assets
in offshore accounts. He also served prison time for fraud surrounding the purchase
of Edouard Manet's painting La Promenade
. For his court appearance,
Bond contrived mental illness and loss of memory.
Alan Bond was known as a flashy big spender with little regard for legal niceties
or the rights of creditors and shareholders of his corporations.
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