Robert Maxwell was a demanding boss but especially toug
LONDON (AP) _ Robert Maxwell was a demanding boss but especially tough with his two youngest sons, who were charged with fraud after the publishing tycoon’s death, a jury heard Tuesday.
Former Maxwell company pensions administrator Trevor Cook, the first witness in the trial of brothers Ian and Kevin Maxwell, was asked to describe life working for the late media magnate, who died mysteriously at sea in November 1991.
``He was extremely demanding to all employees but doubly so to Kevin and Ian,″ Cook said.
The Maxwells and two associates, Robert Bunn, a former financial director for Maxwell companies, and Larry Trachtenberg, an American financial adviser to the Maxwells, are charged with conspiracy to defraud.
The charges, stemming from the removal of $195.2 million in stocks from Maxwell pension funds, carry maximum penalties of 10 years in prison, or fines, or both. Kevin Maxwell faces two counts and the other defendants face just one.
Under questioning from the prosecution, Cook testified that around the time of Maxwell’s death, he began trying to find out what had happened to the pension fund’s stock.
He eventually discovered that shares had been used to obtain loans from banks _ which the prosecution contends was fraud committed against pensioners from the Maxwell companies.
This ``simply astonished me,″ Cook told jurors in the trial expected to last six months.
Defense lawyers have sought to blame the problems on Robert Maxwell’s autocratic management style. They have argued that Maxwell ordered his sons around for years and kept executives in the dark until it was time for them to rubber-stamp his personal decisions.
Asked what kind of boss Robert Maxwell was, Cook said, ``An extremely demanding person but at least I felt you knew where you stood. He was going to take the very important decisions ... but allowed one to run the administration affairs as one needed to.″