- Eleven years after former Daily Mirror owner Robert Maxwell
plunged from his luxury yacht to a watery grave, his death still arouses
- Many different theories have circulated about what really
happened on board the Lady Ghislaine that night in May 1991. Some believe
- 67-year-old tycoon simply slipped into the sea, perhaps
after a few drinks.
- Others think Maxwell took his own life amid increasing
troubles in his business empire - after his death investigators discovered
he had been secretly diverting millions of pounds from two of his companies
and from employee pension funds in an effort to keep solvent.
- But now, after two and a half years of investigative
journalism, we believe we have unearthed the true story of Maxwell's death
and can reveal how he was murdered by the Israeli secret service, Mossad.
- Our work, supported by documents, including FBI reports
and secret intelligence files from behind the Iron Curtain, shows Maxwell
- worked as a secret super spy for Mossad for six years.
- The Jewish millionaire and former Labour MP [born Ludvik
- in Czechoslovakia] died the way he had lived - threatening.
- He had threatened his wife. Threatened his children.
Threatened the staff of this newspaper.
- But finally he issued one threat too many - he threatened
- He told them that unless they gave him £400million
to save his crumbling empire, he would expose all he had done for them.
- In that time, he had free access to Margaret Thatcher's
Downing Street, to Ronald Reagan's White House, to the Kremlin and to the
corridors of power throughout Europe.
- On top of that he had built himself a position of power
within the crime families of eastern Europe, teaching them how to funnel
their vast wealth from drugs, arms smuggling and prostitution to banks
in safe havens around the globe.
- Maxwell passed on all the secrets he learned to Mossad
in Tel Aviv. In turn, they tolerated his excesses, vanities and insatiable
appetite for a luxurious lifestyle and women.
- He told his controllers who they should target and how
they should do it. He appointed himself as Israel's unofficial ambassador
to the Soviet Bloc. Mossad saw the advantage in that.
- Having learned many of the key secrets of the Soviet
empire, Maxwell was given his greatest chance to be a super spy.
- Mossad had stolen from America the most important piece
of software in the US arsenal. Maxwell was given the job of marketing the
stolen software, called Promis.
- Mossad had reconstructed the software and inserted into
it a device which enabled them to track the use any purchaser made of the
it. Sitting in Israel, Mossad would know exactly what was going on inside
all the intelligence services that bought it. In all, Maxwell sold it to
42 countries, including China and Soviet Bloc nations. But his greatest
triumph was selling it to Los Alamos, the very heart of the US nuclear
- The more successful Maxwell became the more risks he
took and the more dangerous he was to Mossad. At the same time, the very
public side of Maxwell, who then owned 400 companies, began to unwind.
- He spent lavishly and lost money on deals. The more he
lost, the more he tried to claw money from the banks. Then he saw a way
out of his problems.
- He was approached by Vladimir Kryuchkov, head of the
KGB. Spymaster and tycoon met in the utmost secrecy in the Kremlin.
- Kryuchkov had an extraordinary proposal. He wanted Maxwell
to help orchestrate the overthrow of Mikhail Gorbachev, the reformist Soviet
leader. That would bring to an end a fledgling democracy and a return to
the Cold War days.
- In return, Maxwell's massive debts would be wiped out
by a grateful Kryuchkov, who planned to replace Gorbachev. The KGB chief
wanted Maxwell to use the Lady Ghislaine, named after Maxwell's daughter,
as a meeting place between the Russian plotters, Mossad chiefs and Israel's
- The plan was for the Israelis to go to Washington and
say that democracy could not work in Russia and that it was better to allow
the country to return to a modified form of communism, which America could
help to control. In return, Kryuchkov would guarantee to free hundreds
of thousands of Jews and dissidents in the Soviet republics.
- Kryuchkov told Maxwell that he would be seen as a saviour
of all those Jews. It was a proposal he could not refuse. But when he put
it to his Mossad controllers they were horrified. They said Israel would
have no part in such a madcap plan.
- For the first time, Maxwell had failed to get his own
way. He started to threaten and bluster. He then demanded that, for past
services, he should receive immediately a quick fix of £400million
to bale him out of his financial difficulties.
- Instead of providing the money, a small group of Mossad
officers set about planning his murder. They feared that he was going to
publicly expose all Mossad had done in the time he worked for them. They
knew that he was gradually becoming mentally unstable and paranoid. He
was taking a cocktail of drugs - Halcion and Zanax - which had serious
- The group of Mossad plotters sensed, like Solomon, he
could bring their temple tumbling down and cause incalculable harm to Israel.
The plan to kill him was prepared in the utmost secrecy. A four-man squad
- Then Maxwell was contacted. He was told to fly to Gibraltar,
go aboard the Lady Ghislaine and sail to the Canary Islands. There at sea
he would receive his £400million quick fix in the form of a banker's
draft. Maxwell did as he was told.
- On the night of November 4, 1991, the Lady Ghislaine,
one of the world's biggest yachts, was at sea. Unknown to its crew, the
death squad had cast an electronic net over the yacht to block all radio
transmissions. The security cameras on board had been switched off.
- After midnight there were only two men on the bridge.
One hundred and twenty feet behind them, Maxwell appeared on deck.
- He had been instructed to do so in a previous message
- A small boat came alongside. On board were four black-suited
men. Three scrambled on to the yacht. In a second it was all over.
- Two held Maxwell. The third plunged a syringe into his
neck behind his ear. A measured dose of nerve agent was injected. Robert
Maxwell was immobilised. He was lowered off the deck into the water.
- As Victor Ostrovsky, a former Mossad agent told us: "On
that cold night Mossad's problems with Robert Maxwell were over."
- The incontrovertible facts about his murder are contained
in a previously-unseen autopsy report by Britain's then-leading forensic
pathologist Dr Iain West and Israel State Pathologist Dr Yehuda Hiss. Of
all the documents in our possession, these reports confirm the truth about
- Gordon Thomas & Martin Dillon are authors of The
Assassination of Robert Maxwell: Israel's Super Spy, published by Robson