Alan Bond

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Alan Bond
Born (1938-04-22)22 April 1938
Hammersmith, London, England, United Kingdom
Died 5 June 2015(2015-06-05) (aged 77)
Murdoch, Western Australia
Cause of death Complications from heart surgery
Nationality Australian
Other names "Bondy"
Occupation Businessman
Known for Business magnate, yachting sponsor and corporate criminal
Religion Christianity (Roman Catholic)
Criminal charge Corporate fraud
Criminal penalty Four years imprisonment
Spouse(s) Eileen Hughes (m. 1955; div. 1992)
Diana Bliss (m. 1995; died 2012)
Children Four

Alan Bond (22 April 1938 – 5 June 2015) was an Australian businessman noted for his high-profile business dealings, including his central role in the WA Inc scandals of the 1980s, and what was at the time the biggest corporate collapse in Australian history; for his bankrolling the successful bid for the 1983 America's Cup, the first time the New York Yacht Club had ever lost it in its 132-year history; and also for a criminal conviction that saw him serve four years in prison.

Born in London and raised in Australia from the age of 12, Bond began his career as a signwriter and formed what became the Bond Corporation in 1959. He became a public hero in his adopted country after bankrolling challenges for the America's Cup, which resulted in his selection in 1978 as Australian of the Year[1] (awarded jointly with Galarrwuy Yunupingu). His Australia II syndicate won the 1983 America's Cup, which had been held by the New York Yacht Club since 1851, thus breaking the longest winning streak in the history of sport.

In 1992, Bond was declared bankrupt with personal debts totalling A$1.8 billion. He was subsequently convicted of fraud and imprisoned after pleading guilty to using his controlling interest in Bell Resources to deceptively siphon off A$1.2 billion into the coffers of Bond Corporation. The funds were used to shore up the cash resources of the ailing Bond Corporation, which spectacularly collapsed, leaving Bell Resources in a precarious situation. Following release, he became active in various mining investments, predominately in Africa, including Madagascar Oil PLC and Global Diamond Resources, and was included in Business Review Weekly's "Rich 200 List" in 2008.

Early life[edit]

Alan Bond was born on 22 April 1938, the son of Frank and Kathleen Bond[2] in the Hammersmith district of London, England. In 1950, when he was 12, he emigrated to Australia with his parents and his older sister Geraldine,[3] living in Fremantle, near Perth.

He had early "brushes" with the law. At age 14, he was charged with stealing and being unlawfully on premises. Later, at age 18, he was arrested for being unlawfully on premises and reportedly admitted planning a robbery.[4]

Business success[edit]

Lippo Centre in Admiralty, Hong Kong Island, 1988. Bought from Alan Bond.

The Perth-based Bond made his fortune initially in property development and at one time was one of Australia's most prominent businesspeople. In 1970 he bought three of the 'America's Cup' bid yachts from Sir Frank Packer. He later extended his business interests into other fields including brewing (he controlled Castlemaine Tooheys in Australia[5] and G. Heileman Brewing Company in La Crosse, Wisconsin, USA[6]), gold mining,[7] television,[8] and airships.[9] In 1987, Australia's first private university, Bond University was founded by Bond Corporation.[10] He purchased QTQ-9 Brisbane and settled an outstanding defamation dispute the station had with the Queensland premier, Joh Bjelke-Petersen by paying out A$400,000. He said in a television interview several years later that he paid because "Sir Joh left no doubt that if we were going to continue to do business successfully in Queensland then he expected the matter to be resolved".[11]

In 1987, Bond purchased Vincent van Gogh's renowned painting, Irises, for $54 million—the highest price ever paid for a single painting. However the purchase was funded by a substantial loan from the auctioneer, Sotheby's, which Bond failed to repay. The transaction was criticised by art dealers as possibly a manipulated sale designed to artificially inflate values generally (which it seems to have done).[12] The painting was subsequently re-sold in 1990 to the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.[13]

Also in 1987, he built and developed the Bond Centre in Hong Kong. It was later bought by the Lippo Group of Indonesia and is now known as the Lippo Centre, Hong Kong.[14]

Purchasing the Nine Network[edit]

In 1987, Bond paid $1 billion for the Australia-wide Channel Nine television network from Kerry Packer's PBL. In a 2003 interview with Andrew Denton, Bond described the negotiations as follows:

"...when we first sat down, we said, 'We're either going to sell our stations to you for $400 million, or you're going to sell your stations to us.' And he said, 'Well, I don't really want to sell my stations.' And I said, 'Oh, is that right?' So, anyway, after much discussion, Kerry thumped the table and said, 'Listen, if you can pay me $1 billion, I'll sell them to you, otherwise bugger off...' then I rang the National Australia Bank. I said, 'Look, I'm in discussions here to buy these television stations. Kerry will sell to me, and what I want to do is put our stations together and then, with Sky Channel, I'm going to float it off as a separate entity and raise the capital to pay for it... [Packer] said $1 billion [was his asking price], but I think I'll get it for $800 million...' [The bank manager] duly rang back and said yes. I said, 'Thank God. I'll go and have some further negotiations with Kerry,' which I did. And true to his word, he never budged one penny off it. So I settled the deal with $800 million and a $200 million note. So he put his own $200 million in. So I had $1 billion. And we put our other two stations up as collateral, which were worth probably $400 million."[15]

In fact the agreed price was $1.05 billion. Packer took $800 million in cash, and $250 million in subordinated debt in Bond Media. Once Bond went bankrupt, Packer was able to turn the debt owed into a 37% equity in Bond Media, which now included Channel 9 in Brisbane, and valued at about $500 million. In fact it was valued at $1 billion, but had $500 million in debt on the books. Still, Packer was quoted as saying "You only get one Alan Bond in your lifetime, and I've had mine".[15]


In 1992, Bond was declared bankrupt after failing to repay a $194 million personal guarantee on a loan for a nickel mining project. His total debts reportedly totalled $1.8 billion at the time.[16] In 1995, his family bought him out of bankruptcy, with creditors accepting a payment of A$12 million, a little over half a cent per dollar.[17] In 1997, Bond was sentenced to seven years in prison after pleading guilty to using his controlling interest in Bell Resources to deceptively siphon off A$1.2 billion into the coffers of Bond Corporation. The funds were used to shore up the cash resources of the ailing Bond Corporation, which spectacularly collapsed, leaving Bell Resources in a precarious situation.[18][19]

At this time, Bond was stripped of his 1984 honour as an Officer of the Order of Australia.[20] He was released in 2000, having served four years in prison at Karnet Prison Farm.[21]

Return to investment activities[edit]

In 2003, Bond was inducted into the America's Cup Hall of Fame.[22] Since 2003, Bond had worked closely with his son Craig and long-time business partner Robert Quinn through Strategic Investments Ltd.[23][24] Since 2004, interests related to the Bond family have held a block of shares in Madagascar Oil, a business he co-founded with Sam Malin and Robert Nelson, of which the acting chief executive officer is Robert Quinn's son-in-law, J. Laurie Hunter. Interests related to the Bond family also control Global Diamond Resources plc (formerly Lesotho Diamond Corporation) which is developing the Kao diamond pipe in the Kingdom of Lesotho. In 2007, the Federal Court rejected an attempt by Bond to sue freelance journalist Paul Barry over an article Barry wrote about his dealings in Africa with the Lesotho Diamond Company.[25] Bond had claimed that the article had several false statements. In 2008 Bond appealed but this, too, was rejected by the same court which found Mr Bond's claims had no reasonable prospects of success.[26] Bond was also involved in a long-running defamation case against The West Australian newspaper and journalists Mark Drummond and Sean Cowan over a series of articles published in December, 2005, in which it was alleged that Bond's friend and business partner Robert Leslie Nelson was moving to hide Bond's involvement in Lesotho Diamond Corporation, Madagascar Oil and a gold company.[27] During that case, Bond tried to have the journalists convicted of contempt of court after some electronic documents disappeared.[28]

In 2008, Bond made a return to the Business Review Weekly's "Rich 200 List", in 157th spot, with an estimated wealth of $265 million—thanks primarily to his stakes in Madagascar Oil and Global Diamond Resources.[29]


In 1955, Bond married Eileen Hughes, a member of a prominent Catholic family in Fremantle—her cousin is car dealer John Hughes. She and Bond were both 17 and she was pregnant at the time. Bond, who had been raised Protestant, converted to Catholicism for the marriage.[4] The couple had four children: John, Craig, Susanne and Jody. Bond and Eileen divorced in 1992.[30] Susanne, an equestrian showjumper who had been a member of the Australian showjumping team for seven years, died in 2000 from a suspected accidental overdose of prescription medication.[31]

In 1995, Bond married Diana Bliss, a public relations consultant and theatre producer.[32] On 28 January 2012, Bliss was found dead in the couple's swimming pool. Police said the circumstances surrounding her death were not suspicious[33] and concluded that Bliss, a longtime sufferer of depression, had committed suicide.[34]

Illness and death[edit]

On 2 June 2015, Bond underwent open heart surgery at a private hospital in Perth to replace and repair his heart valves. Following complications, he was transferred to Fiona Stanley Hospital in Perth[35][36] and placed on life support in an induced coma;[37] he did not regain consciousness, and died on the morning of 5 June 2015.[38]


  1. ^ Lewis, Wendy (2010). Australians of the Year. Pier 9 Press. ISBN 978-1-74196-809-5. 
  2. ^ Wilson, Caroline (11 April 1992). "Why Alan Bond Split With Eileen". The Sun Herald – via 
  3. ^ "Alan Bond, entrepreneur and businessman". 2007. Retrieved 29 January 2012. [dead link]
  4. ^ a b Tovey, Josephine (5 June 2015). "Obituary: Alan Bond, 1938-2015". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 9 June 2015. 
  5. ^ Kirkegaard, Matt (5 June 2015). "Alan Bond and Bernie Powers: Beer in the ‘80s". Australian Brews News. Retrieved 9 June 2015. 
  6. ^ Kish, Jeff (6 June 2015). "Former Heileman's owner Alan Bond dies". La Crosse Tribune. Retrieved 9 June 2015. 
  7. ^ "Alan Bond: 10 things you need to know about the controversial tycoon". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 4 June 2015. Retrieved 9 June 2015. 
  8. ^ Verrender, Ian (5 June 2015). "Alan Bond: Australia's weak spot for the man behind the biggest heist in history". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 9 June 2015. 
  9. ^ "Fraudster and America's Cup legend Alan Bond dies". Business Insider. 5 June 2015. Retrieved 9 June 2015. 
  10. ^ "Bond University mourns the passing of Mr Alan Bond". Bond University, 5 June 2015
  11. ^ Schultz, Julianne (1998). Reviving the Fourth Estate: Democracy, Accountability and the Media. Cambridge University Press. p. 104. 
  12. ^ Reif, Rita A $27 Million Loan by Sotheby's Helped Alan Bond to Buy 'Irises' New York Times, 18 October 1989
  13. ^ Irises, image at the J. Paul Getty Museum
  14. ^ Bond Centre at Library of Congress
  15. ^ a b Alan Bond interview transcript from Enough Rope, ABC TV interview with Andrew Denton, 3 November 2003
  16. ^ "Alan Bond Is Declared Bankrupt in Australia". The New York Times. 15 April 1992. Retrieved 9 June 2015. 
  17. ^ Abrams, Amah-Rose (8 June 2015). "Australian Tycoon Alan Bond, Who Bought Vincent van Gogh's Irises for Record $54 Million in 1987, Is Dead at 77". ArtNet News. Retrieved 9 June 2015. 
  18. ^ Head, Mike (11 March 2000). "Australian businessman Alan Bond walks free from jail". World Socialist Web Site. Retrieved 9 June 2015. 
  19. ^ Sprague, Julie-anne (5 June 2015). "Alan Bond dead: Bond Corp's demise left bad taste in the West". Financial Review. Retrieved 9 June 2015. 
  20. ^ Mickelburough, Peter "Social leaders stripped of honours after falling from grace", Herald Sun, 6 June 2013. Retrieved 20 March 2014
  21. ^ "Alan Bond released from prison". BBC News. 9 March 2000. Retrieved 23 April 2010. 
  22. ^ Gladwell, Richard (5 June 2015). "Alan Bond - America's Cup Hero remembered by Longley and Simmer". Sail World. Retrieved 9 June 2015. 
  23. ^ Mottram, Linda; Daniel, Zoe Bond's latest venture in liquidationABC Radio AM report, 20 March 2002
  24. ^ Reece, Damian; Fagan, Mary Bond on comeback trail The Telegraph (UK), 17 September 2000
  25. ^ Court dismisses case against journalist Paul Barry ABC News, 22 September 2007
  26. ^ Bond loses Federal Court appeal - ABC News, 23 June 2008
  27. ^ BOND -v- WEST AUSTRALIAN NEWSPAPERS LTD [2008] WASC 121 (25 June 2008)
  28. ^ Gosch, Elizabeth (27 March 2008). "The West Australian newspaper 'erased documents'" Perth Now. 27 March 2008. Retrieved 2015-06-05.
  29. ^ "Rich surprise: Alan Bond bounces back". The Sydney Morning Herald. 28 May 2008. Archived from the original on 4 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-28. 
  30. ^ Wilson, Caroline (11 April 1992). "Why Alan Bond Split With Eileen". The Sun Herald. Retrieved 29 January 2012. 
  31. ^ Lowth, Adrienne (7 July 2000). "Coronial inquiry launched into the death of Alan Bond's daughter". Retrieved 29 January 2012. 
  32. ^ "People in the News". The Argus-Press. 16 April 1995. Retrieved 29 January 2012. 
  33. ^ "Police confirm Alan Bond's wife dead". Retrieved 29 January 2012. 
  34. ^ "Diana Bliss leaves a last sad farewell note to Alan Bond". Retrieved 31 January 2012. 
  35. ^ Leanne Nicholson (5 June 2015). "Alan Bond dead: 'All efforts were made', says Fiona Stanley Hospital". WA Today (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 13 June 2015. 
  36. ^ Kate Campbell publisher=The Sunday Times (5 June 2015). "Alan Bond dead: Larger-than-life businessman loses fight after heart surgery". PerthNow. Retrieved 13 June 2015. 
  37. ^ "Alan Bond continues to fight for life in Perth hospital after heart surgery complications". ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). 4 June 2015. Retrieved 4 June 2015. 
  38. ^ "Alan Bond dies in Perth hospital after heart surgery complications" (5 June 2015), Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 5 June 2015.

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