Author(s): Jonathan Conlin
When Calouste Gulbenkian died in 1955 on the age of 86, he was once the richest guy on this planet, referred to as ‘Mr Five Per Cent’ for his private percentage of Middle East oil. The son of a rich Armenian service provider in Istanbul, for part a century he brokered top-level oil offers, concealing his mysterious internet of industrial pursuits and contacts inside a labyrinth of Asian and European cartels, and convincing governments and oil barons alike of his impartiality as an ‘fair dealer’. Today his identify is understood mainly throughout the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon, to which his impressive artwork assortment and maximum of his huge wealth had been bequeathed.
Gulbenkian’s personal existence was once as labyrinthine as his industry dealings. He insisted at the easiest ‘ethical values’, but ruthlessly used his spouse’s attraction as a hostess to additional his occupation, and demanded entire obedience from his circle of relatives, whom he monitored obsessively. As a tender guy he lived a champagne way of life, escorting actresses and showgirls, and in later existence – on physician’s orders – he slept with a succession of discreetly supplied younger ladies. Meanwhile he constructed up a excellent artwork assortment which integrated Rembrandts and different treasures offered to him via Stalin from the Hermitage Museum.
Published to mark the 150th anniversary of his start, Mr Five Per Cent unearths Gulbenkian’s advanced and many-sided lifestyles. Written with complete get right of entry to to the Gulbenkian Foundation’s archives, that is the interesting tale of the person who greater than someone else contributed to shaping the trendy oil business.
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