|Residence||Constantia, Cape Town, South Africa|
|Alma mater||Lycée Français Charles de Gaulle
Magdalen College, Oxford
|Notable work(s)||Roll the Dice|
Darius Guppy (born 1964) is a British-Iranian businessman, noted for his colourful ancestry, high-society contacts and unconventional lifestyle.
When his father was ruined in the 1990s crisis at Lloyd's of London, Guppy sought revenge by successfully claiming from Lloyd's after a faked jewel robbery. Betrayed by an accomplice, he was eventually jailed.
Guppy's mother was the Iranian author and singer Shusha Guppy (1935–2008). His grandfather on his mother's side was the philosopher and theologian Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Mohammed Kazem Assar, who held the chair of philosophy at Tehran University; his maternal cousin, another Assar grandson, is Hooman Majd.
His father was Nicholas Guppy, the writer and explorer who died May 2012 in Bali. On his father's side he is a descendant of Lechmere Guppy, the naturalist who discovered the eponymous fish, as well as the inventor Sarah Guppy, Thomas Guppy, the engineer and business partner of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the explorer Amelia Guppy, Sir Francis Dashwood, Bt (founder of the Hellfire Club) and the medieval Plantagenet family.
Guppy was educated at the Lycée Français Charles de Gaulle, Eton College, and Magdalen College, Oxford, where he got a first class degree in history and French. In his second year, he became a member of the Piers Gaveston Society, as well as the Bullingdon Club. He was the best man at Earl Spencer's wedding to model Victoria Lockwood, his first wife; Lord Spencer was his best man in return. He was a close friend and boxing nemesis of Boris Johnson, who later became the Mayor of London, as well as of Count Gottfried von Bismarck.
Brought up as a Christian, he is now a Muslim.
In February 1993, Guppy was jailed for staging a faked jewel robbery and claiming £1.8 million from the insurers, part of London's Lloyd's insurance market and the trial which accompanied his conviction became something of a media sensation.
Guppy's fraud in New York was a fake jewel heist, intended as retribution against Lloyd's of London after his father lost his home and money in the Lloyd's of London financial crisis of the 1990s. Guppy and his business partner, Benedict Marsh, hired a man to fake a robbery, discharge a firearm and tie them up. The crime occurred without hitch and his company was paid out by Lloyd's for the supposed stolen jewels within a few weeks of the robbery occurring. The offence did not come to light until over a year later, after a police informer who had acted as an accomplice had been arrested attempting to imitate the pair. Guppy was sentenced to five years in jail. The presiding judge at his sentencing, which occurred three years later, stated: "…The offences were in my view extremely well planned and very carefully executed enterprises". At his trial in its opening speech the prosecution described the scheme as: "bold, well-researched and meticulously executed".
It is believed that Guppy transported the jewels from the fake robbery by private aircraft which he piloted from the UK to mainland Europe.
The Daily Mail has reported that Darius Guppy's acts of retribution are legendary since, according to Boris Johnson, he lives by a "Homeric code of honour, loyalty and revenge". He brawled with the brother of Princess Diana, Earl Spencer, to defend the honour of his wife Patricia. At university, he engaged in a feud with a landlord. In 1990, he planned to assault News of the World journalist Stuart Collier, whom he believed had been attempting to smear members of his family. During a telephone call he asked Boris Johnson (then a journalist at the Telegraph) to provide the journalist's address. The address was never provided and the attack never took place, but a tape of the conversation was leaked to the press. Darius claimed the fake jewel robbery too was an act of vengeance as his father had lost the family fortune with Lloyd's of London. When a British journalist published an article in which a disparaging remark was made about his wife, Guppy found out the journalist's address, waited for him outside his house, "knocked him to the ground" and covered him in horse manure in front of his neighbours. He filmed the event but stated that he did not publish the film as he wished to avoid "additional hurt" to the journalist's family
In 2009, breaking a thirteen-year silence, Guppy claimed 'Britain has become an "urban hell" and a dispenser of "moral poison" whose citizens are enslaved by a "culture of consumerism".'
Writing for the Independent on Sunday, Guppy argued that remedies proposed by western governments for the financial crisis were bound to fail because they were dependent on permanent and unsustainable economic growth
In an essay published by the Asia Times, Guppy called for the creation of debtors' unions to bring about radical change to a financial system which he argued prejudices the majority, including the middle classes.
In an article for "The New Statesman, Guppy argued that Britain's financial and political elite consists of "clowns" lacking vision or original ideas and that "Not a single prominent financier or politician either predicted the economic disaster or has put forward any measure that has the remotest prospect of resolving the crisis."
Writing for "The Spectator magazine after The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, had received a mauling in a television interview at the hands of TV presenter Eddie Mair, Guppy argued that Eddie Mair and the press in general lacked the "moral authority" to lecture the Mayor of London whose misdemeanours he argued seemed trivial next to those of other politicians and media figures
In an article for "The New Statesman, Guppy wrote "a disturbing account of an angry incident in London, Boris Johnson's old friend fights back against his detractors in the press" and a polemic against a "decadent" British Media, describing how he had exacted revenge against a journalist who had made a disparaging remark against his wife. In a letter to the journalist posted on a blog he described the incident in more detail, claiming that he had filmed the event but had decided not to publish the video so as not to cause "additional hurt to your family."
Guppy has worked as a poet, having been praised by Christopher Logue, Elizabeth Jennings and Peter Levi, and wrote his autobiography, Roll the Dice in 1996. In this, he describes his illustrious ancestors and the family name of Gupa meaning "bright in battle". This background inspired him and he says that, "Boldness and cheek were essential ingredients for success." But the book was not well received by critic Roger Clarke who, writing for The Independent, summarised it as a "horrific hybrid. His faults are glaringly magnified by the dumb journalese, his more iconic and unusual qualities entirely dwarfed by the book's money-garnering glee."
- Barton, Fiona (18 August 2006). "The revenge of deadly Darius". Daily Mail (London).
- . London: The New Statesman. 1 March 2013 http://www.newstatesman.com/lifestyle/society/2013/03/elite-clowns. Missing or empty
- Darius Guppy (11 July 2013). "Who Will Bully the Bullies". The New Statesman.
- Darius Guppy. https://sites.google.com/site/dariusguppymeetspeterstanford/. Missing or empty
- Bremner, Charles (26 March 2008). "Shusha Guppy". The Times (London).
- "Nicholas Guppy". The Daily Telegraph (London). 10 June 2012.
- Yseult Bridges (1980). Child of the Tropics. ISBN 976-8066-05-9.
- Richard Alleyne (4 December 2004). "Oxford hellraisers politely trash a pub". The Daily Telegraph (London).
- John-Paul Flintoff (16 March 2008). "Boris Johnson: Maybe it's because he's a ponderer". The Sunday Times (London).
- "Darius Guppy: 'If we go to war with Iran, I'm in trouble'". The Independent (London). 12 June 2011.
- Jane Flanagan (20 February 2010). "The truth about my friend Boris and my feud with Earl Spencer". The Sunday Telegraph (London).
- "2 London Jewelers are convicted of faking Manhattan Gem heist". Boston Globe. 14 February 1993.
- Len Read (7 April 1996). "HOW ROYALS, ARISTOS AND TARTS FELL UNDER THE SPELL OF ...". Sunday Mirror.
- Flanagan, Jane (20 February 2010). "The truth about my friend Boris and my feud with Earl Spencer". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 20 February 2010.
- "Peter Risdon – Freeborn John". Nobodylikesagrass.com. 5 October 1960. Retrieved 15 November 2010.
- Video on YouTube
- His Honour, Judge Brooks, Sentencing Transcript, Snaresbrook Crown Court, 25 March 1993.
- Arlidge, John (14 February 1993). "Guppy 'going to prison for a very long time' in pounds 1.8m gems fraud". The Independent (London). Retrieved 3 July 2009.
- Guppy, Darius (1996). Roll the Dice. Blake Publishing. ISBN 1-85782-159-9.
- Fiona Barton (18 August 2006). "The revenge of deadly Darius". Daily Mail (London).
- "Boris Johnson: You Ask The Questions". The Independent (London). 1 January 2007.
- http://www.nobodylikesagrass.com, exhibits 2&3, affidavit of the man hired by Guppy
- a Daily Mail (12 July 2013). "Boris Johnson's friend Darius Guppy admits to horrifying attack on journalist who insulted his wife". Daily Mail.
- Green, Chris (7 August 2009). "Darius Guppy's back – and now he's Iranian". The Independent (London). Retrieved 15 November 2010.
- Darius Guppy (21 February 2010). "The Counterfeiter and the Bankster". The Telegraph (London). Retrieved 15 November 2010.
- Darius Guppy (12 June 2011). "Growth: it ain't happening". London: The Sunday Independent.
- Darius Guppy (8 March 2012). "Who really holds the gun?". The Asia Times.
- Darius Guppy (1 March 2013). "An Elite of Clowns". The New Statesman.
- Darius Guppy (27 March 2013). "Who points the finger?". The Spectator magazine.
- Darius Guppy (11 July 2013). "Who Will Bully the Bullies?". The New Statesman.
- Darius Guppy (9 July 2013). https://sites.google.com/site/dariusguppymeetspeterstanford/chapter-3n. Missing or empty
- John Adlam and Darius Guppy, ed. (1984). First Set: Blue Jade. ISBN 978-0948021008.
- John Adlam and Darius Guppy, ed. (1986). Second Set: Nomads. ISBN 978-1869800000.
- Elizabeth Jennings (15 August 1985). "Oxford Poets then and now". The Spectator (London).
- Roger Clarke (1 February 1997). "Books: A cold fish out of water". The Independent (London).
- Described in Publishers Weekly, 27 January 1997 v244 n4 p93
- McSmith, Andy (31 March 2009). "Darius, Boris and a blast from the past". The Independent (London). Retrieved 31 March 2009.