Billionaires on the run

Over the past decades, billionaires the world over have fled to Europe in search of refuge from justice in the countries where they made their fortunes.

Facing arrest on the counts of fraud, embezzlement and sometimes other wrongdoing, they have sought – and mostly found – a new home in the continent’s most fashionable and well-heeled places.

From the Seizième to Belgravia, from Milan to Berlin, from Sardinia’s Emerald Coast to ski resorts in the Alps, these tycoon émigrés are on the cusp of securing permanent residence in Europe’s beau monde.

These pages document the utterly astonishing stories of the ten most conspicuous billionaires on the run from the law, men who at the same time lead the high life in Europe’s premier salons.

It is the story of a few men who, with hardly any capital at all, rose to the top with jaw-dropping speed. The origins of their wealth continue to lie under a cloak of mystery even today.

But it is also the story of high stakes players whose fortunes turned against them just as quickly. It meant they were no longer above the law.

And so, with the help of a few good lawyers and political lobbyists, they created the perfect escape pod.

They reinvented themselves as philanthropists.

Overnight, they became political dissidents.

They began rallying to liberal causes back home.

They ingratiated themselves with European political critics of their home countries.

And it provided political and legal cover.

The story they told was very simple: they were just another victim of rough justice, one among many innocent people duped by a political system in which the rule of law counts for nothing and political opponents end in jail.

So far, their story has evidently washed.

But is it credible?

Judge for yourself.